My husband, Sam, to whom I was married for 54 years, died in November, 2015. Over approximately the last ten years, I became his full time care giver. My job died with him. I am old enough to retire, but not old enough to die. And I don’t know what my life will be like without Sam.
I have been part of a couple for 54 years – most of my life. I never lived alone. From my parents home (with a few interruptions), I moved to my marriage. I miss being part of a couple. I miss talking to Sam about the weather, the people we knew, our kids and grandkids. I miss the presence of a living person in the house. I miss our shared history – miss asking him if I remember something that happened in our past in the right order. I miss telling a joke that I heard. I miss him. I don’t miss many other things. I don’t miss taking Sam to countless medical appointments. I don’t miss sitting by his bedside in various hospitals – probably some thirty times over the 54 years: his lousy health: his nottaking care of himself: laying out his pills on a weekly schedule: getting up in the middle of the night to see if he fell: going to the drug store weekly to get some of the 29 meds he took daily.
He was a vigorous young man when we married, but his health deteriorated as he got older. He had a major heart attack at 39 then added diabetes, COPD, arthritis, shoulder issues and a number of less known diseases. He slept in a recliner the last 8 years. Nevertheless, he was able to enjoy his children and grandchildren and continued to be involved in communal life almost until he died. He adapted to his illnesses:did not complain: got a scooter when he could not walk:got oxygen when his lungs did not work well. Each changed was initiated and managed by him. I did not do nearly as well. I was not as adaptable and it was hard for me to adjust – to the scooter, the oxygen, the recliner. At first I fought the changes. I had an unclear that was going to make the problems go away. Anf for period of time, that is what happened. He had appendicitis in his twenties, gall bladder surgery in his thirties, back surgery, heart attack, stents, bypass surgery, ablations and so forth. As he aged, he got sicker and less able to recover. The baseline of his health deteriorated. We understood the side effects of each of the drugs. But the aggregate side effects were not clear. He was on more and more meds and we didn’t understand how these drugs interacted.