Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life partners

We took dinner over to my wife's parents and their caregivers tonight.  I can see how frail the parents are.  I don't know that either could survive a serious bout of some debilitating illness.  Without the caregivers, Karin and Elias,  they would have to go into a nursing home.

It's not a happy occasion to visit.  We do our best to fake it and pretend to be happy, but I know that we are concerned about them and their downward spiral physically.  During dinner, my mother-in-law had the "1000 yard stare".  She ate very little.  She made a comment that she didn't feel wanted.  I don't know where that came from, but we assured her that she was wanted, and we were glad to be with her.

Later, she, Karin and I played catch with a small rubber ball that lights up when it is thrown.  She seemed to get into that and has a good throwing arm!  We played catch for about 30 minutes which had her smiling and laughing.  Such a simple thing, yet it livened her up and worked some muscles.  I may have to stop by just to play catch with my mother-in-law!

This couple has been married for a very long time.  Their long life together makes me think about what happens when people who have been together for so long lose their mate.  Animals certainly grieve.  Many mate for life. My mother did not want to be with another man.  She said that she did not have the heart to love another because all the love had been spent on my father.

It is hard for me to imagine what life would be like without my C.  So for the most part, I don't allow that thought process to go far.  But it is hard when one sees life partners coming to the end of their time together.  It is something that those who love others deeply have to face.  I am reminded once again just how precious each day is.


  1. after Dad passed away Mom did not want any one else in her life as well.she maintaind that her children were enough for her.

  2. Hi. I was in need of some Alanon help & wisdom tonight, and felt it was too late to call anyone. I fumbled around online and searched "alanon blog" and I found you. You've helped me. Thank you, Syd. I've saved you to my "favorites" bar. Funny. I'll just go to my "favorite bar" to find you. ;-)

  3. My beloved in laws and mother died in the past year. Would it be possible for you to take one of your pets or a puppy over there with you. It helps to give them and you a topic of conversation and a differnt focus. I loved the game you played. I think you are on the right track with that. It is also nice to watch a movie, something short on u tube or some music.

    This is so hard but you will be glad to have spent the time with them when they are gone.

  4. this is a perfect expression.

    you know, I have seen loyal widows find real and worthy companionship and even more after nursing mates loyally for years. So I keep the door open to whatever the spirit blows in; but mostly, like you, I don't allow my thoughts to go there for long. useless anyway, we already value each day, each moment. Your true words prove that.

    warm Aloha from Honolulu

    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >


  5. Yes!!! Precious is right on!

    God bless you, Syd, for taking time to share with loved ones who are counting their last days.

    Anonymous #1

  6. It's not just the end of the partnership, Syd it's also he end of life. I was devastated when my step father died several years ago, not for me -I did not like him much - but for my mother, for her aloneness.

    And now as she approaches the end of her life at 92, the same long staring into space can leave me feeling sad, too.

    Group gatherings are hard for the old people because of their hearing. They fade out of the picture.

    My mother requires one to one or else it's as if she's not there. She turns in on herself. My mother was once a gregarious person. It's so sad to see. Thanks for a beautiful post, Syd.

  7. What a beautiful moment to see your mother-in-law smile and laugh... those are the moments to remember and live for.

  8. A touching post Syd -- and I was impressed by the catch game!

  9. i hear you on life partners coming to an end...after 15 years my wife is like breathing

  10. My parents were together almost 60 years. After my dad died, my mother, who was suffering from dementia, did not want to go one. Four months later she had totally let go and passed on. We totally bond with each other. Co-dendancy? Or a loving, healthy relationship? I've been with my wife for almost 30 years. We have had and continue to face serious challenges on a daily basis. Those challenges, I believe make our relationship stronger.

  11. I think many of us are feeling similar thoughts.

  12. My mom died at 57. My dad remarried within the year. I think he made a hasty decision that he later regretted. But he was of that generation that really took those vows seriously. He never complained and he stayed there until she threw him in a nursing home.

    The week after he died, I decided I was not going to make the same mistake - and I left my extremely abusive husband.

  13. I was just confronted this past weekend with a reality check about my Aunt and Uncle. These people have been parents to me in a way my parents never could. For the first time, they were fallible, human, even a little frail. It was a very fleeting moment that these thoughts occupied, but it has stayed with me and made me reflect and take heed very much as you state there at the end. Yet another example of the Universe giving each of us what we need when we need it....if we're open. Thanks.

  14. You inspired me to update about my mother. She is nothing like the mothers you and these commenters are talking about.

  15. ahh its a beautiful thing to be moved by compassion at the suffering of others..

    your post reminds me of the Bodhisattva Kuan Yin ..Goddess of Infinite Mercy and Compassion
    "One who Listens to the cries and suffering of the World"

    The divine cosmic deity, the bodhisattva, Kuan Yin, venerated for
    her Compassion & Infinite Mercy.
    She exemplifies Karuṇā, a love for all beings, one of the four divine abodes in Buddhism.

  16. "1000 yard stare" reminds me so much of my mother in her final years. She had Alzheimer's and I lost her years before she actually died. I really miss the Mom she was before she got sick. Thanks for touching my heart. It's all about love in this world, isn't it?

  17. Syd,
    I am so sorry to hear C's folks are doing so poorly.

    You are wise to recognize and appreciate what you have.

    I love you so.


  18. Very touching post and brings back memories of my moms parents. My granddad and grandma were both in the hospital at the same time. My grandma went home but my granddad past away then a month later my grandma past away. Since that time my dad past away then my mom past away a few years later. We all were thankful he went first due to the fact he relied on my mom for everything and would not have done good without her.

  19. I am catching up here as you can see...

    You know in my work, I have learned to see the end of life as a natural part of living. It is sad because we miss our elderly family members, I miss mom far more than I expected. However, the end of their lives can be such a precious time too, a beautiful transition to what lies ahead for them. Their bodies go through the natural progression and it is just part of the cycle. Our job is to play catch, bring milkshakes with whipped cream, to bring joy if we can and to know that the transitions we are seeing are ok. Acceptance is huge. I am SO glad that you have your wonderful caregivers there. I hope they will stay through to the end.

    I have worked for married couples who went within hours of each other, and others take a few months. Its beautiful to me that these life partners stay together through to the very end. It always makes me think of Canada Geese. lol But really their stories are amazing. Just like the people I care for....filled with mistakes, imperfection, forgiveness, tolerance, love, and endurance.

    Again, bless your kind heart Syd.


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