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Expert Blog

Car Crash

September 25, 2015

In 2009 I saw our car crash occurring in slow motion. It came on suddenly, yet it slowed time and started a long process of transformation for myself and everyone I love. Instead of an instantaneous result, the car crash is still playing out, over six years later.

I witnessed the vehicle headed toward us and then in 2010, the vehicles collided.

In 2011, the cars shattered and fell apart with a loudness that cut me to the core. And then heart-stopping quiet.

In 2012, the paramedics showed up and I stood by helplessly while they evaluated and tried their best.

In 2013, the ride to the hospital and the initial overview were bleak.

In 2014, friends and family rallied around and the reality of what was really happening started to show.

Now, in 2015 we are in ICU with not much promise.

In an instant that has stretched into years, my life as I knew it changed forever.

Whatever plans for a future, with or without Jim, were placed on hold or dismissed forever. I feel as if I am starting over. But I am still held back to my past because I must focus on him and his care. Part of me wants to escape it all…move, start fresh redirecting my happiness to things yet unseen or unknown. But that will not be. I must stay here, stay in the now, stay focused on the car crash and replay each moment and try to rearrange what I should have and could have done to prevent a tragedy that is unfolding in a tortuous snail pace.

Jim is now in a memory care unit. Yes, it was a hard decision just as the decision for those survivors in a plane crash in the frigid mountains years ago to devour their teammates to continue to live was a hard one, but one that had to be done.

I feel as if I am making choices not out of love, but out of survival. Survival for me and for our children and ultimately for Jim. He is being taken care of much better than I could. I am stretched thin in almost every possible way between paperwork for him, the kids schedules and just trying to get our home in order and bills paid, the yard mowed and the dog fed and walked. There is never a moment in my life that I don’t have something I should be doing. Something that will either get done or fall to the wayside, and then I will feel guilty because I haven’t written that thank you note or cleaned out that closet or responded to the email that was top of my list a week ago.

How is it possible that I could at onetime be a fully functioning person, and now I celebrate if I have caught up on laundry and fixed a decent meal for dinner and there are no arguments or disagreements among us?

I feel Jim’s absence all day. I wake up with way too much space in our bed and I miss his presence….his touch….his laugh….his ability to help me focus on what was needed, what was important. He is still helping me with that…..the most important thing is his care and our children’s care.

Some will argue my care is important because I hold it all together and I agree. But if I keep everyone else healthy and happy, I, in turn, will be ok. That is my job, my focus, my life now. But for how long can I sustain this life? Everything else is on hold. My career. My savings. My mobility. My happiness. Every aspect of being a woman, a mom, a wife, is focused on being what I need to be for Jim and the kids.

At what point will I be able to remember and focus on who I am now and who I am going to be when I come through all of this pain and heartache? Will I ever come out of it? Will I be able to be me again or will I always be in the shadow of the car crash and handicapped by the pain and heartache that I am not sure I can ever leave behind?

Thoughts and stories from others

  1. October 1, 2015 at 05:33 pm
    Posted by Joan

    Survival of the caregiver is the goal with alzhiemers.So many emotions involved to wear you down.The bleakness of it all,living the life of a shutin because you can't go out anymore.Envying couples doing things together.No one to fix things,no conversation,the worry knowing you will watch him die. Do what it takes to keep your sanity!

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