Washington Post writer Liza Mundy’s 7,500 word feature (novella?)
(In 35 words or less <grin>) The story of Dave Kendall a spouse caregiver of 7 years and Diane diagnosed with Huntington’s disease is blended with caregiving information from the Well Spouse Association, a medical ethicist, and even a disability attorney.
I empathize and thank the Kendall’s for sharing their story.
Some points I want to asterisk … Why? Because “everyone will one day know or love someone who can no longer take care of themselves,” Maggie Strong. And it is important to remember there are no cookie cutter answers for caregiving, each story will be different.
Marital Vows ***
“When Dave Kendall promised to love Diana 'in sickness and in health,' he meant it …”
* When Patti and I were married 22 years ago, promises of ‘in sickness and in health’ WERE NOT part of our wedding vows.
* Yet here I am a spouse caregiver 18 years after Multiple Sclerosis left Patti dependent.
I sometimes wonder if “marital vows” could become a rhetorical ‘straw man’. Shouldn’t the focus be CARE not promises?
Every family situation is unique ***
* The Kendall’s were married for 20 healthy years and raised their child to adulthood before Huntington's disease changed their world.
* Patti and I were married only 4 years before Multiple Sclerosis left Patti dependent and me to juggle both life as a spouse caregiver and single parent to our then 18 month daughter. We have known a caregiving relationship almost 5X longer than as a well couple.
* What about parent caregivers of special needs children? Here is caring that will not only change families every day for the rest of their lives but transcend life times.
I have found that spouse caregiving is about a stoic indifference to your own existence. Not about what ‘you’ had in mind for ‘your’ life.
Health is not guaranteed. Yet how many families live on the fragile assumption of health?
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Ash Wednesday, T. S. Eliot
Caregivingly Yours, J Patrick Leer
non-caregiver musings: www.lairofcachalot.blogspot.com