When I left San Diego our hospice social worker and our nurse were VERY insistent that I make sure I find counseling and support wherever Buddy and I “landed”.
(SIDE NOTE: Hospice is an AMAZING thing. It is NOT END OF LIFE only. It is quality of life. There is a huge misconception about what hospice means and what hospice does. I can can say I have met the most loving, caring and helpful people ever through hospice, my life has forever been changed because of hospice. )
The experience that I have recently gone through and continue to go through challenges me daily. There are moments when I am hit with a wave of grief and loneliness that is so intense that I burst into tears with no warning. I am allowing myself to just go with it and accept it and be in the moment. Something that people don’t realize is you, as the caregiver are in this extremely intense situation for months, or years and then one day it’s over. DONE. Now what? Everyone else continues on with there lives, they have work, family, friends – not the caregiver – they start over.
I KNOW 100% that Duane appreciated me, loved me and that we had a connection that not many can understand or appreciate. I value the time Duane and I had and all he taught me to do and love. I am honored that I was able to care for him throughout his battle with ALS. I know I gave him the life he wanted and made sure that every adventure he wanted to have he had (except taking the boat to Mexico alone – I had to draw the line somewhere). I am thankful for him and for the life he created for me. His love and support will forever be with me. I am fully confident that Duane was proud of me and us and I am at complete peace with where Duane and I are.
I have been told by many that I am lucky. I get a whole new life. I get to chose my story. I get to move on. I am young. I will be fine. I’ll meet someone else. I’ll go on to do whatever I want. I don’t have to worry anymore. It is hurtful, disrespectful and rude. I am not lucky. I lost my best friend, my husband. I have been told my loss is not as great as some others’ loss (I didn’t realize grief was a competition…). These are some of the comments that were said that made it evident to our care team that I would need some support moving forward.
There was definitely some hostility towards me during Duane’s illness and following his passing. Things seem to have gotten worse in the last two weeks. I am doing my best to hold my head high and remember I gave Duane a life no one else could have and his care was my top priority. Whatever issue people have with me know that they can’t move passed are based on their own insecurities and short comings and their own inability to process grief and seek support.
My heart is hurt. There is no way to explain the feeling of losing not only “your person” but many of those who were a part of the journey. I am not here to judge them or their actions. I am here to share my story, process my grief and have the fun, amazing life that Duane wanted me to have. I will continue to go to counseling and work through this experience. My only concerns now are Buddy and myself. I was not sure how this experience would effect my relationships with others, but this is not what I was expecting. Hopefully I will arrive in a place where I can just let it go, where an explanation, an apology and a thank you are no longer needed.
– xoxo Victoria