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Thank you for your positive post. I am still in the early stages as my husband died in December. However, I feel hope and encouragement from reading your story. I have a long way to go, but I will remember your words and know I can move forward.Hi @update2020 ,
My story is as positive as @CAL Y . We had been married 39 years when my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at the age of 62. All of our married life he has encouraged me and supported me as I hopefully did him. We had friends who were also dealing with dementia, we were introduced to them by his Community Psychiatric Nurse. I also gained friends through DTP, big thanks to them too for their support. My husband was at home with me for seven years followed by four years in a nursing home.
When he died aged 73 my world fell apart as it does for many of us but I wanted to show him I’d be ok. It took time but slowly I chose to accept invites from friends and suggestions of outings and holidays. The first birthday, wedding anniversary, his death we’re all painful but I suddenly realised that all the bad memories of his 11 years with Alzheimers were disappearing and being replaced with all the good memories of the previous 39. He is always with me, I’m not a widow, I am still his wife. There are days when things are not good, sometimes a sad memory pops up and certainly days when I need him to change a light bulb, climb in the attic for me, etc. and he is not there but I just sit them out, no point fighting them, tomorrow is another day.
The sadness of our life not being what we had planned will always be there but it is no longer painful. Things I cannot change I won’t allow to upset me.
So 6 years after his death, with the help of lovely friends and wonderful children life is as good as it could be, perhaps far better than I ever thought it would be when I lost him, just 2 months before our 50 wedding anniversary.
It’s good to talk as long as you find it helpful.I think ‘moving on’ was maybe the wrong phrase to use.
But … I do want to do something myself to escape the all-consuming grip of grief and guilt that goes with the job of caring for someone with advanced and challenging dementia and then their final loss. At times it’s felt a bit like living with PTSD. The time since he was sectioned has been especially traumatic. Time might heal but it’s also good to share tips for what we can do.
So I’ve been following the advice from the NHS website - in particular getting outside for daily walks and the weather has blessed me by being dry and sunny.
I also find it helps to talk to people about my husband and his decline and this is hard since I’m alone, but also because other people often think that I shouldn’t talk about such things. That I should truly ‘move on’. What do other people find? Are there other places you find to talk about all this, other than here? Is it good to talk???
Thank you. I visited his grave today. All the flowers in the wreath have long died but the mistletoe seems to be growing. And then I remembered that it was St Valentine’s Day.It’s good to talk as long as you find it helpful.
if other people suggest you move on and not talk about it, just keep quiet around them.
the Alzheimer’s helpline is a good place to talk … also here of course
personlly I found members of my faith community very good listeners too.
some family members were understanding as they had been through similar situations.
its really early days yet and be prepared for the long haul. It will take time.
It's hard to almost re-structure your entire life after losing someone who you deeply love and have cared for for so long.For 15 years I cared for my husband with eoAD. He died one month ago. My question is this: for all that time and longer he was at the centre of my thoughts and of every decision I made. Even when he moved to a nursing home around 2.5 years ago I visited and there were constant worries about his health. How do I decentre him from all that I do? There is now nothing he needs from me but I still find myself structuring each day around something ‘for’ him. Everything I do is an attempt to distract myself. Even when I’m working (I work part time). I could easily live another 20-30 years (I am early 60s), but cannot bear the thought of constantly living with these thoughts. Tips?
Oh that’s really kind. Thank you. Today I am spending all day reading. Something I’ve not been able to do for years.It's hard to almost re-structure your entire life after losing someone who you deeply love and have cared for for so long.
My grandmother passed away from dementia and my mum and auntie cared for her for many years, especially towards the end, being with her almost all the time. I took care of her as well but not nearly as enough as they did.
From what I saw of their lives after losing their mum, they didn't move on straight away. They struggled to adjust to their life without having to care for their mum and focus all their thoughts on her every day. Some things that they did were:
1. Taking the time to look after themselves - starting small but scheduling in time to do things that they wanted to do. So if that was to go and see a friend, go on a weekend away somewhere, go for a meal with family. It was about scheduling in time for things that they wanted to do
2. My mum would write down in a diary her feelings, acting almost as a therapy guide. It helped her to release her feelings about the situation and deal with moving on as well
It's fine to do thing and think about your husband and thinking about doing something for her, you just have to remind yourself each day that it is for you. Of course, you will still love him and treasure him, but it's okay to start saying that YOU want to do this. That's the most important thing to remember.
It's about you finding your own way, even if that is finding a new hobby to get involved with. My auntie actually took up cooking and baking (even though she did this before, it was primarily for her mum). She loved to try new recipes and experiment and now she loves to cook.
I'm so sorry for your loss and I hope you are doing better. Just remember that it will take time, it's just slowly doing things for yourself and reminding yourself that this is what you want to do today, this is what you have planned, this is how you feel etc. xx
How tough for you, you are so right. Yes, weekends and special days too when it can really hit hard. Sometimes it seems we are the new lepers!Hello @AliceA . Thank you for such an eloquent post. It has lifted my heart after a very sad day. The weekends are the worse times.
I am only five months into this new single life so very early days.
This is the second time I have been widowed so I do know that there are no shortcuts, we just have to make the most of the good days then roll with the punches on the bad days.
I will take a look at the poem you have suggested.
Kind regards to you. C.
I found the poem by Maya Angelou "When Great Trees Fall" spoke to me. It was read out in an episode of "Shetland" - I hadn't heard it before. This is the section they read:-
And when great souls die,
after a period peace blooms,
slowly and always
irregularly. Spaces fill
with a kind of
soothing electric vibration.
Our senses, restored, never
to be the same, whisper to us.
They existed. They existed.
We can be. Be and be
better. For they existed.