Why is this so hard?

That’s what I used to ask. I asked it a lot. I never received an answer. I still ask it. This is the question that haunts me. Before, it used to be “What If?” But now, it’s “Why is this so hard.” I will admit that I no longer ask this question every day. This one only comes up a few times a week. Yes, a few times a week still… Who do I ask? Everyone. No one. The dog. The quad. The kid. God. The silence in my house. My family. My friends. My great grandmother who passed away years and years ago… She and I chat the most lately. I miss her and her no nonsense attitude. I ask this question and no one has the answer because I’m not sure there is one. It’s so hard because it just is…

As a caregiver, we have choices. We think we do not but we do. We can choose to stay. Or we can choose to leave. Yes, we can. I’ll bet that 99.9% of the caregivers I talk to would disagree with me and say that they do not have a choice. I will tell them that they are wrong. We all have choices and the hardest thing that I had to do as a caregiver and a wife was to accept the choice that I made; the choice to stay and fight. The quad and I went to counseling for a while and he was the one who voiced this and made me realize that I do have a choice and I was fighting it. I was fighting this choice because of the guilt. The guilt that came even thinking about how I had a choice was all consuming. It made me physically sick. How could I leave my husband? HE’S PARALYZED. He didn’t do it on purpose. It was an accident. So, how could I leave? How could I be that person? How could I give up on him???

But you know what? I could have… Yes, I could have and it would have been my choice. Every single caregiver has this choice and every single caregiver must make this choice. I finally made the choice and I chose to stay. I did. Over five years after my husband was injured, I made up my mind and decided to stay.

You’re confused. I know you are… since I technically never left my husband. I’ve been here the entire time. Yup. I’ve been married to my husband this entire time and I’ve been his primary caregiver this entire time. However, for the past five years, I’ve been fighting this life. I have kicked and screamed and cried and fought this life with all I had because I didn’t want it. I don’t want my husband to be quadriplegic. I don’t want my daughter growing up with a father who cannot hug her. I do not want to grow old without my husband! I DO NOT WANT TO DIE WITHOUT REMEMBERING WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE HELD.

However, something changed. I don’t know when, but things changed. I realized that my life wasn’t so bad. I have the most beautiful, inside and out, daughter who loves us unconditionally. I have a wonderful husband who is handsome, intelligent and strong. I have a beautiful house. I have wonderful and supportive friends who make me laugh. I am surrounded by an amazing family (both sides) who give us so much. I have so many incredible things in my life and I was ignoring them and missing out on my life. So, I made the decision to stop it. I decided to live this life and decided to stay. And since then, things aren’t so hard…

2 Comments on “Why is this so hard?

  1. I love this. I have to admit that a year ago I would have argued with you. I think you definitely put your finger on something that we as caregivers never realize at first, which is probably why it truly is so hard at first. We do have a choice.

    I’ve been a caretaker of my mom with Dementia for the last 5 years. The first 4 years were so hard because, like you, I was struggling with a choice I had made to have a life I did not want. This last year though, I made a decision that just because I am a caregiver does not mean that I have a bad life. Or no life. It is simply just a different life. That decision definitely made it easier for me to cope and I think it released something in me that I had been clutching. Maybe it was the very idea of a choice, like you said.

    I really enjoyed this post!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! This was one of the tougher ones to write since a year ago, I would have disagreed too…. Good luck with your mom. I cannot imagine how tough that one is for you. I’m glad you made the choice to live your life.

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