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Bad Memories


Lainey

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My husband Lars passed on Dec.11,2009 from bladder cancer. He also was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2002 and had two back surgeries for leg pain in 2008. After many trips to doctors, and therapy for back and leg pain(still)we were both exhausted and our patience with each would wear thin at times.

After his death, I went to a counsillor, had group therapy and made it through the firsts. I thought that I was well on my way to healing and understanding my grief.

When I started into my second year, little reminders of things I didn't want to remember began to haunt me.I became cranky when Lars would ask me to rub his legs to take the pain away, or to help him get comfortable. These requests were usually in the middle of night and I wasn't sleeping well to begin with. We were always running to doctors, tests, or therapy, the cooking and house work never got done. By this time I had put my home based business on hold, There was resentment on my part that I had to do that. I needed to get away and that caused guilt ,especially after his friend told me that he was afraid when I wasn't with him.

Lars was on pain and anti-anxiety med's, the last few months of his life he became paranoid and hallucinated off and on. His last night that he spent at home was very terrible on both of us.

About 4 months ago, these memories surfaced in the middle of the night,causing hysteria,panic attacks,chest pains etc. I really and truly thought I was losing my mind that night. These memories of the last night and new ones that I preferred to keep hidden were constantly on my mind.. day and night. I started using sleeping pills again, they were useless. I finally made an appt. with my counsillor again and thank goodness she was able to help me understand that these memories were so painful I had shoved them deep inside until I was ready to deal with them emotionally. With her help and me realizing that I did all I could and I wasn't a bad person and not a failure, I'm healing again.

The reason for this topic is not to have people feel sorry or me, but to open up the topic and have other people that may be going through this hell realize that it has to be worked out. The bad has to surface at some time, when it does, get the help you need. DON'T wait like I did.

Lainey

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Dear Lainey: I could have written your post. My husband passed 4.12.11 after 18 months of cancer, first throat cancer, which we thought we had conquered and then 3 months later cancer found in his sinuses. It was a horrible journey, with nose bleeds every night/day and sometimes more. I would have to change and launder bedding in the middle of the night due to large bleed outs. I think I could be in a commerial about how and what takes out blood stains. I know every trick in the book. I was crouchy, cranky, etc. PEG tube feedings three times a day for months on end, dr. appts. (12 doctors total) medications, etc. It takes a toil on the patient but the caregiver also. I had resentments about all this and his smoking that got us there. He wanted me to cuddle with him at the last of his life and I would for 5 minutes then leave. This is because the tumor and dead tissue had an offensive odor and it was so difficult to be close to him. That is not a pleasant thing to admit. That you could not be close to your husband that you love in his dying days. The guilt was killing me and I finally made an appt. with a grief counselor. Meeting with him weekly and trying to work through this. I wound up in the hospital after his passing with kidney stones and utilimately surgery. All of this is the stress of the situation. Just know that you are not the only one that had resentments, guilt feelings, etc. and tucking them away because we don't want to have to admit our feelings. I think it is common with caregiving. They key is to be aware of them and work through it. It appears you are doing just that. Praying the best for you.

Peace and Hugs

Becky

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Hi Lainey

Bill and I had an incredibly close relationship for 36 years...kindred spirits, twin flames, soulmates. The last several months were extremely challenging. Like you I had little sleep and it was usually interrupted. I was clearly in denial of what I was losing....I could not face it. Watching him lose his mind (literally) to Alzheimer's was traumatizing to me. I was exhausted, trying to keep all the balls in the air and I was impatient with him. Every night i would go to bed and wonder how I would get through another day and was filled with regret that I was not at my best...in fact I was at my worst. this was so unlike me that now, in hindsight, I know it was not me. It was a traumatized version of myself. One of our last conversations....he would have lucid moments on rare occasions...we talked about it, I apologized and in keeping with his kind self...he did also...we cried....forgave each other...as if he needed forgiveness. When he died I was shocked, first that he died though I knew it in my head for months. The message had not gotten to my heart barricaded from the truth as it was. I felt guilty and full of regret that I had not been able to be me all the time...that there were times when I was tired, exhausted, inpatient, frozen like a robot. I carried that with me all the time, still do to a large degree, until my grief counselor helped me to realize that I, too, was a patient....as all caregivers are. That I was in trauma for several years. I asked a couple of friends what they saw and without my saying the word trauma...they said they saw me traumatized by the loss that was hanging over my head, by what I saw happening to Bill. Of course, the superwoman in me thinks to this day that I should have been able to handle all of it without being traumatized. The reality is that I needed more help than I knew; I was totally exhausted; I was grieving without knowing I was grieving. I was out of my mind....I was not in my right mind...I was in my left mind (logical) trying to get through each day and night.

I think I have forgiven myself but I still regret that it all went down that way, that I did not get help sooner and more of it when I finally did get help. What i know is Bill and I had an incredible foundation in our marriage and though that was a tough chapter....we were close to the end, loving each other intensely and completely. He died in my arms after the final 6 weeks of Alzheimer's increase its attack on him and REALLY torture him. It is Alzheimer's that I hate...For myself...I weep with the pain of losing my soulmate.

I agree with you....do not bury feelings. They only rear up and attack later as yours did and as mine did when I was shocked that he died...that our moments together were really gone. Then that shock, trauma, really threw me backwards. It is a long way back and when we arrive we will be in a different place because we are different people now. This path we all walk has been made more difficult with caregiver stress and trauma. Thanks for the topic.

Mary mfh

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