Monday, November 29, 2010

What have I lost?

I am reading a book on dealing with grief at the moment. Each chapter covers a myth about grieving, and the reality. The first chapter's myth is You only grieve when someone dies. And the reality, of course is, We grieve whenever we lose anything, whether it be someone or something. I completely agree with this.

One of the exercises at the end of the chapter is to make a personal loss profile about a specific experience or an event. So here goes.

The event I choose to reflect on is: My realisation that this may be as good as it gets; hubby may never get any better, and in fact may continue on his slow downward spiral.

These are the losses I experienced, albeit gradually, not all at once:
  • I've lost the ability to be honest about my life with friends and family. Apart from our parents, I am not 'allowed' to tell anyone that knows my husband what is really going on in our lives. He believes that he has lost friends by me sharing my problems with people we know. In truth, he may be right, but I am just stating my losses.
  • I've lost my house as a welcoming home into which I can invite other people. Much of it is now full of junk. Drifts of snow dog hair and piles of clean and dirty laundry make it extremely uninviting.
  • I've lost my freedom. If I go out in the evening, I pay for it later as his anxiety ratchets up, and he becomes extremely clingy and needy.
  • I've lost the ability to work a 40 hour week, so I've had to take a pay cut and work a 35 hour week instead. I tried, but even when I was still working at home, I kept running out of time and always having to work on the weekends... because I have to take him to almost all of his appointments and sit there with him so he doesn't get anxious or scatterbrained and forget all the details. Despite him officially being the at home parent, I have to do most of the kid things too. I may as well be a single parent, in that regard.
  • I've lost the opportunities to spend time with my extended family (other than my parents). He feels betrayed by my sister and her husband; and my brother and his wife have been distant to him as he becomes intense and hostile when things don't go his way. I have three nephews and a niece that I hardly know. 
I feel better putting that down in writing. I have tried to stick to just the losses and be objective. It will be interesting to see where this book leads me next. I am tempted to write what I am grateful for now, as a follow-up, but I think I will stick with the book exercises for now.


  1. Aw Jilly, it's so true!
    You do grieve for the lost ideals and plans that can't now be chased.
    Once it's clear somethings are not really going to be possible, you do kinda feel a bit cheated and sad at times and then something else gives you pleasure and lifts you up again!
    It's never easy though is it!
    maz x

  2. What a touching post. Thank you for sharing

  3. I have been griveing a lot lately. I think about the things my mom and I could be doing if she did not have Alzhiemers. And thanking about the fun we used to have before her memory was taken away. Wonderful post!