I noticed as I drove to the store yesterday, I passed many ambulances. With each ambulance I thought of all the times EMS came to my home because my husband had taken a turn for the worse. Which of course, makes me sad, not just because my husband has died, but the life that I had become accustomed to is gone too. It is hard to be a caregiver and at times I thought I was pushed to my limits, but after a while it became who I am or I should say who I was. Though there were times I probably thought I was at my breaking point, unable to go another day as a caregiver, those moments passed. I loved my husband and being his caregiver gave me a purpose for life. Helping others while I was at the hospital only reinforced this need to be helpful, to be a caregiver. Now my husband is gone, my little pet is still clinging to life, so I am his caregiver for now but I can tell not for much longer. Being a caregiver for a pet is different. I thought I had found a purpose in life being a caregiver. I did, but that time is now over. Though I can still volunteer if I were up to it, I do not think I can go through all that is required again. I am not ruling out taking care of relatives, I am talking about those I do not know or have no connection to. I do not think I can show the compassion and care needed to be a caregiver to anyone other than a relative or close friend. I would like to say that I will never have to, but I have family that are older than I am, as well as younger who are ill. I would be able to show family the same care I showed my husband if needed. Back to the ambulances for now.
It is odd, I probably know most of the people in these ambulances, they have been in my home, but I recognize no one. I know many live near by. They have always been kind. That is really all I know of them. My husband was always taken to a large, university hospital in another county. He was only taken to a local hospital if our county was low on ambulances or they did not think they could drive that far and keep my husband alive. So while they came into my house often and I went into the ER as they brought my husband in, I really do not know any. The same cannot be said for the ambulances from the university hospital. Whether they be the helicopter pilots and nurses or the large ambulance drivers and nurses, I came to know them all. If they are in this county and see my car, they will often turn their lights on, flash headlights, etc. to get my attention, waving the whole time. When my husband was alive, the helicopters would fly lower near our home and then go higher after passing it, as my husband always sat out on the back porch it was their way to say hello. These people became my friends in the last few years.
The nurses in the hospital as well as all the assistants and other personnel all became friends too. When parking my car, the valets all knew me, they knew my husband. If I passed one driving down the road they would wave. While at the hospital they always took time to talk with me no matter how busy they were, they showed concern and compassion. The nurses always asked if I needed anything and brought it if I did. They let me wander the halls and get things out of the supply closets without questioning me. Each time my husband was in the hospital, if a nurse I had become friends with were in another wing, they would come to say hello to me. The same can be said for all the doctors too. They went out of their way to talk with me if I had a question. If they saw me walk by while they were with a patient, they would sometimes excuse themselves to come out to talk with me. They spent more time talking with myself and my husband than most of their other patients. I know who has children, how old they are, what their hobbies are. I know more about all these people then most of the friends in my life. The hospital had become my home.
Sometimes I feel as if my calling to be a caregiver is gone and I have no purpose left in life. It also feels sometimes as if I have lost my home since I am no longer at the hospital each day. In addition it feels like all my friends that I made at the hospital are now gone, though I know this is not true. If I were to drive to the hospital and visit with everyone I became friends with I know they would still treat me the same, as a friend. But I am afraid of how I will react if I go back to the place I spent so much time with my husband, knowing that it is the place that kept him alive until there was nothing left to keep alive. When he was moved to Hospice.
When my husband died, I lost the man I loved. But I also lost all the things I listed above that became my life. I now need to find a new purpose in life. As for friends, I have other friends and my hospital friends are still there, but I am not ready to be a friend to anyone. I go on each day with a sad excuse of a life, having no purpose. I know this will stop and I will move on with life one day. I just do not know when that day will come. Will it take me by surprise? Or will I see it coming? Will I find a new purpose in life or will life alone be all I need? I have no answers. Today is another sad day for me. My pet is getting worse and I fear each time I check on him he will be dead. I am trying to be with him as much as possible, to make sure he is comfortable. I always say no one should die alone, yet that is something that is done alone. I guess I should say, everyone should have someone who loves them by their side as they leave life. At any rate, though I am sad today, I know this too will pass. If my pet dies I will be sad tomorrow. If he is still alive maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Most of us have bad days, today was one of mine. As a realist I know I will always have a bad day occasionally but I also know those days will pass and I will have happy days, that my happy days outweigh the bad. The knowledge that happiness awaits, even though I do not know when it will arrive, is what keeps me going and pushes me to find all the things I do not want in my life when the day arrives. So I will say good night to the bad day knowing that tomorrow is a new day. Each new day brings the chance for happiness. I sure could use some happiness, but I want to make sure I am done with all the work of getting rid of what is not wanted in my life first. Life is too short to waste time on things unwanted. Life should be enjoyed to the fullest when possible. One day when I write this, it will be a day of happiness, having found a purpose and a new life. Not forgetting my old life, learning to live with it, while I am also learning to live my new life minus what I do not like about the old life.