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Friday, April 6, 2012
My lovely wife summoned her courage and created another post. I hope you enjoy it.
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Well blog writing wasn’t as painful as I thought it might be and your comments were so encouraging that I thought I would try again! This time I am writing about another incredibly thoughtful gift my husband Scott gave me several Christmases ago. It was one of the best surprises I ever received and helped get me through the toughest season of my life so far.
Here’s the background: In 1997 Scott’s mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and moved in with us. This was a decision Scott and I made together, along with his siblings and lots of guidance from God. Becoming Mom’s caregiver meant not only dealing with the gradual loss of this incredible woman but the loss of my independence and any sense of control over my household.
As the illness progressed, I became the “bad guy”, the “other woman” to my mother-in-law. In addition I never knew what would greet me as I came through the door. For example, once I found the refrigerator disassembled with all the food defrosting on the floor. Another time I couldn’t find my frying pans and pots only to discover she had put one on each of the dining room chairs. Clothing and linen weren’t safe because our dear Mom would spray them with bleach thinking it was stain remover.
We developed a saying in those years, "We don't ask why!"
One Christmas, right in the middle of those crazy years, my daughters and I decided, with my husband’s encouragement, to actually go shopping on the day after Christmas, taking advantage of the sales . I have trained my girls to shop til we drop, and we had a grand time shopping all day long.
When we arrived home all was fairly quiet, so I made my way up the back stairs to our bedroom. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of blue and then suddenly I realized our bedroom had been completely transformed. Scott had pulled a “WHILE YOU WERE OUT” and set up my own sitting room space in our bedroom. A love seat, a desk, coffee table, a wall mounted TV, bookshelves and lamps, a new bedspread and wall hangings. Incredible!
I cried then and I still cry just thinking about how blessed I was. I had “lost” my home to my mother-in -law but Scott created a sanctuary for me. This was one place in the house that was my own, my refuge. I can remember just walking through our room and feeling peace and relief just knowing it was there for me whenever I needed it. I shed many tears in that room and prayed many prayers.
I don’t know how he did it but during those years Scott took care of both his mom and me. I never doubted that I came first but we both knew that for a season we needed to take care of the dear woman who gave me the man who I love most.
Taking Care of Each Other
- You can create a separate space in your home, as Scott did for me that Christmas. It doesn’t have to be a whole room; it can be a corner of a room or any other area set aside for them, decorated in their favorite way.
- If that’s not feasible, consider specifically granting him or her designated “escape time.” Thirty minutes after dinner or after they get home from work where no demands are placed on them, where they can do whatever relaxes and reinvigorates them.
- Arrange for a weekend getaway. Even if your circumstances prevent you from both being gone at once, you can take turns!
Being a long term care giver can place great demands and stress on your marriage. Even though there are tremendous physical and emotional demands on you both, make sure you make it a priority to also take care of each other.
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