At the age of approaching sixty you’d think I’d be used to these challenges. My husband and I have been together since we were teenagers and married for thirty six years. We have lost three Parents, both of mine and at this present moment in time supporting my husband as his Mother comes to the end of her life. He has been experiencing a, ‘long goodbye’ for a long time. Our whole life, literally has been taken up with Mum. In every aspect of life she has come first and I don’t say that lightly. As a Family, these last six years we have lived practically separate lives as my husband hasn’t managed to be more than a week without being with her, especially after they lost his Dad five years ago. All the more difficult since we live seven hours drive away, therefore my husband has literally come home from working away all week, to spend the weekend with his Mum, then come back on a Sunday Eve to go away to work for the following week whilst I keep our Family and home together . Of course, when things have been super difficult I have traveled with my husband, but more often he’s made that journey on his own and relishes his own time with his Mum. Life took a turn when she had to go into a Care Home, but it still hasn’t stopped my husband travelling every weekend. She’s been very ill for the past twelve months and got Covid in June. Lockdown means he hasn’t seen his Mum since last March and that has been super tough. It takes up 24/7 of my husbands thoughts. Mum is suffering long Covid, Pneumonia and several infections. She’s ninety and twice been told she would not survive the night. At this moment in time she is on Palliative Care and End of Life Care at the right time. These past two weeks especially have been fraught with a very anxious, upset and irrational husband who is not sleeping, irritable and now showing signs of physical stress . He has seen a Doctor after high blood sugar and blood pressure which contributed to an exhausting two weeks where I’m doing my best to support whilst holding down my own full time job in Health & Social Care; I normally know what to do, but at a loss to know what else to do to support and say the right thing. We have so much to look forward to in our only child’s Wedding next year but to be honest, we’ve been on the back burner for so long I’m concerned this time round how my husband will cope in the coming days/weeks/months when his Mum passes , it’s been the longest goodbye ever
You must both be so exhausted, both physically and emotionally. To have lost 3 parents and to face losing the last remaining one after all those years of caring for her sounds way too much to cope with, and yet you have both been doing it and are still doing it. It is amazing what strength love can give us, but there does come a time when it begins to take a toll on your own health and you may have to take a step back to recharge your own batteries. My husband and I are in a similar situation at the moment, (apart from the distance, we only have to travel 40 minutes not 7 hours like you and your husband) and there are no easy solutions. Are there any other family members who could help out, or good friends? Are you able to both take some time off work, maybe even go away for a few days? We were able to do that in September and it really helped to just take a bit of time out. It’s good that your husband has been to see his GP. I hope that he has had good advice and will be able to follow it. You must be feeling concerned about him, being a health and social care practitioner yourself. I wished there was something I could do for you. All I can do right now is let you know that you are not alone, and that you and your husband are amazing and somehow will find a way through this together.
Thank you Jo, I never realised after years of caring that receiving such kind words could bring such an overwhelming tsunami of emotion, it is truly appreciated. The challenges are all too real and it’s comforting knowing that we are all walking these miles together. It’s not often I feel I’m just about keeping my head above water and it’s comforting knowing I’m not alone. My thoughts are with you.