Author Topic: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions  (Read 2682 times)

robunknown

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Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« on: March 19, 2015, 08:35:04 AM »
Anyone here reach out to folks that are in the same relative condition your spouse was in?

I have reached out to a couple of acquaintances who have developed pretty severe cases of cancer, like my DW had. I?ve done most of the communication via email. My first note is usually telling them that if they have any inappropriate/insensitive question they want to ask, please do, because I will answer it. That is usually the flood gate opening of questions I?m sure my DW was trying to get answered too.

Mostly the questions revolved around death which they aren?t ?allowed? to talk about, because their caregivers see that as ?giving up?. I totally understand this sentiment from a caregiver?s point of view. The questions range from them wanting to know what she prepared for my son and I before she passed, to what types of treatment she had. At the end of the day, besides answering their questions, I really only give them one piece of advice. You need to do what makes you feel comfortable. In both cases this was to write letters to their loved ones for after they passed. This is something they caught flak from their caregivers about.

After the initial contact the questions dry up fast. I watch their statuses on Facebook and if they appear frustrated with something I usually send them a short positive note that they say makes them feel good coming from me.

It makes me feel good knowing I am a credible resource for someone in my wife?s shoes. After the initial retelling I am usually surprised at how drained I feel from a retelling of the ?end of days?. The rest of the time I kind of feel like the character ?death?, standing back in the shadows, and I don?t want to be active in their lives if they don?t need me, because I do want them to think positive thoughts about getting better.

At the end of the day, it does make me feel like I am helping.

Shelby

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2015, 04:14:10 PM »
This is a beautiful thing that you are doing. And it takes courage to be doing it. Bless you.

ieh21

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2015, 01:51:25 PM »
I find when I do reach out, I'm kind of the Ghost of Things to Come, and generally people do not feel super comfortable talking to me. At first anyway. Eventually they realise that it's nice to talk to someone who understands the exact situation, and right about the time where they become exhausted from hearing how they have to remain positive, they reach out to me to vent.

What I always find strange is the few times that I suggested this site to other young widows (sadly a couple of women I know have joined our ranks in recent years), no one seems to be interested. I keep thinking "if you only tried, this would be SO helpful. I promise." I guess it doesn't come naturally to everyone to grieve through internet posting...

canadiangirl

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2015, 05:41:43 PM »
Thanks for this post, robunknown.  It resonated. Thankfully, just now I don't have anyone in my real day to day life that has cancer, although I gave moral support to a friend whose mother was dying recently.  But what I have been doing that I am proud of is supporting the cancer centre in the city I live in by giving them feedback about the crappier parts of our experience.  It actually has made a difference; they started a new program based on a complaint that I made to the president and CEO of the hospital.  That program has in a small way positively affected the experience of other cancer patients.  I feel like this is a way I can honour my husband and makes me feel closer to him; I would feel the same way helping actual patients, I think, although it would be tougher.  Kudos to you. 

ieh21, me too, I met a widow who was truly lonely, probably two years out.  She never responded to my message with the ywbb site info, never thanked me, and may or may not have checked it out. It's awkward because we see each other occasionally at work and she is really strange about it.  We can only try to help, I guess.  Put me off totally telling other widows in real life, though. 

rifatheroffour

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2015, 06:23:40 AM »
What I always find strange is the few times that I suggested this site to other young widows (sadly a couple of women I know have joined our ranks in recent years), no one seems to be interested. I keep thinking "if you only tried, this would be SO helpful. I promise." I guess it doesn't come naturally to everyone to grieve through internet posting...

I have also done this and same as you I don't think any of them have joined.  I originally found YWBB on my own one night in the wee hours during a fit of despair.  Obviously there are other options for grieving such as counseling that work better for some.  For all we know the people you pointed here may be some of the many that read and never post.  It is at first a neatly disconnected way to get support.  It took me some time to find the comfort level to reach out to others here.  I have always been a private person and have paid a price for that in the wake of my wife's death. Thankfully I have made some really good friends here.

Sorry to be a bit off topic. 
Those we love don't go away, they walk beside us everyday.
Unseen, unheard, but always near, still loved, still missed and very dear.

SemperFidelis

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2016, 06:24:40 PM »
I am late chiming in here, but yes....reaching out to those still affected by the condition is critical for me. My husband had combat ptsd which drove him to end his life.... The caregiving for something like that is insane and unimaginably more comprehensive than I think most people realize.....it is extremely isolating. So reaching out to support other caregivers in the same situation is really important to me.....and deeply rewarding.  And by supporting the caregiver, the suffering veteran is supported monumentally.

robunknown

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2016, 12:55:00 PM »
Good point. Helping the caregiver is huge (as we know). I remember people always saying, "If there is anything we could do...", but I would never think about what they could do for me personally as I was so focused on DW.
It took a hospice therapist to encourage me to take a sick/vacation day from work without telling anyone else, just so I had some time to myself. She told me I had to remember how to have fun, because caregivers can forget, then that just compounds grieving later.

Shelby

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2016, 10:23:21 AM »
I reach out to the ones who are going through similar things and I reach out to the ones whose loved ones have lost the battle. I haven't been doing it here. For some reason, this "new" YWBB still gives me the wiggins sometimes.  When I reach out to spouses of those with similar disease processes to my Rich, I also am sort of treated like the specter of things to come. The "if it happened to her, it can happen to me" girl. But I'll never stop trying. I'd have loved to have had someone who'd BTDT to sort of talk me through the caregiving journey.

Shelby

Abitlost

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Re: Helping Others With Spouse's Conditions
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2016, 06:35:58 PM »
I am a brain tumor caregiver mentor. I currently have four caregiver mentees. It can be hard at times but I wish I had someone who "got it" when DH was sick. Being the extreme caregiver of a brain tumor patient is something you can't fathom unless you've been there. I am happy I can help guide, support, encourage and comfort my mentees.

I am also a chemo support to an assigned patient undergoing treatment of any type of cancer.

abl