A year ago I was taking care of my wife Carla in hospice. She had 11 weeks from diagnosis to death. Breast cancer. Diagnosed March 28; hospice started April 14; she died June 12 at home in our bed. She never even had a hospital bed, it was just our regular bed. She was 56 and I was 46. We had been together 17 years.
Last fall, I turned 47 but she did not turn 57 and she never will.
The hospice staff said I was tough as nails. I just had lunch Friday with Carla's hospice nurse (I became friends with him afterwards) and he told me that the whole staff was so impressed with me, that I was like a fully trained nurse right from the get go. I was so capable and un-afraid.
Yet I was very afraid, just able to compartmentalize well. I had to be present for Carla. My number one goal was to keep her comfortable, well fed, and out of pain. And for her to feel safe and calm.
These days, I'm having anxiety attacks. Not the immobilizing kind, but hard. A year ago I was thinking so clearly and functioning so well. Now, I'm feeling all the feelings that were not at the surface then.
It's like paying back a loan, with interest.