Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dealing with a terminally ill spouse (or parent or whomever)

MacLeans Magazine, Dec 2011 Issue, has an article by Julia McKinnell on how to deal with your terminally ill husband called Rage against the dying of the light.  The title is a reference to the Dylan Thomas poem which implores the listener not to give up easily to death.  In the article it is more of a reference to the feelings of the caregiver, who may be struggling under many conflicting emotions. One example McKinnell cites is the wife of a cancer patient. Her husband was a smoker and she may be angry that he 'caused his own cancer'. Did those words ever jump off the page to me!

My husband is a smoker and, thank God, has not been given a cancer diagnosis.  I am already angry that he continues to smoke and continues to smoke near me.  Is this going to be a nicotine murder-suicide?  Yes, I smoked. We both smoked when we were dating, so I can't say I didn't know about it.  I continued to smoke and to want to smoke for many years after people said it was dangerous.  Then I had an epiphany. I am so grateful for the moment when I realized that the tobacco companies KNOW they are killing you, they don't care, and they are coming for your children.  Suddenly I was free. I didn't even WANT to smoke anymore.

Now I need my husband to have his own epiphany.  I don't know what it will take, but I know your prayers will help.  I have asked God to deliver him from his addiction, to give him the courage to let go, and the strength to get through it; and I know that God will do what I have asked.  The prayers are for me: that I will not nag him, that I will love him unconditionally, that I will not be fretful, but simply state when the smoke is preventing me from breathing.  That I will remember to tell him how much I love him and need him.  We're almost at 30 years, and I'd kinda like to see 50 or even 60!

Thank You, God, for such a wonderful, considerate, punctual, funny/punny, romantic husband. <3 <3 <3

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