Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Grief rears its ugly head again

Life "should" be back to normal by now.

My husband "should" be recovered.  He's young, the doctors say.  He's resilient.  But recovery is taking forever.  And may never be complete.  Sometimes when he's sleeping, I look at him and imagine that his body is whole again.  But when I climb in bed next to him, his left hand (his "affected" hand) often migrates over to me and clunks me with the brace that keeps his hand from curling into a tight ball.  His arm still moves on its own, and I try to push it away, but if it's being particularly stubborn, it will snap right back over to my side of the bed again.  If I stretch my legs out a little too far, I stub my toe on his night splint, that keeps his foot flexed in the night.  It doesn't take much to destroy my little fantasy of my husband being back to normal.

He struggles to sit upright to get out of bed.  He awkwardly dresses himself, a task that takes at least 5 times as long as it should.  But it's slow going, putting everything on with one hand.  Especially socks.  I hated helping him with his socks, and I'm glad he can do it by himself now, but it's not easy for him with one hand.  I hate watching him go through the grueling process of doing everything in slow motion.  To his credit, he's more patient than I am!

I hate not knowing what the future holds.  How much healing and recovery will there be?  Will he ever start to have more hope that God has a good plan for his life?

Grief sucks.  I just wish we could "get over it" and "move past it."  But how do you move past something that has done so much damage?  And how do we know how much to grieve when we aren't even sure what has been lost or what will be restored?

I think I've used the word hate a lot in this post.  There are a lot of things I'm grateful for, too.  And I will remember them.  And I will encourage you, hopefully, when I recount them.  But for today, I'm just letting myself grieve.


  1. Jen, waiting is torment. I fully expected to be back to normal in 6 months, I was in incredible shape and pretty smart. 6 years later and I'm still slogging, a faster slog but still a slog. You and your husband will have to go thru all 5 stages of grief.

  2. You are allowed to grieve, Jen. A day will come when either Al is back to something like normal or you all are so accustomed to that it becomes the new normal.

    Maybe you need to schedule a visit to see my dad. He lost his arm over 40 years ago and sometimes he still grieves what he used to be able to do. It doesn't always make sense to me because he lost his arm before I was born and he's my dad ergo he's Superman. I know my mom grieved that loss as well.

    You're allowed to be sad and angry from time to time because you spend a lot of time being grateful and you spend the majority of your time just trying to get through the day to day drama that is life. You're OK by me.

  3. Jen,I know what you're going through is hard. I just finished my Master's in Speech-Language Pathology and a lot of my patients are recovering from stroke. Grief is expected, and there's nothing wrong with it. However, if it does keep rearing its "ugly head" I would highly recommend considering a support group for family members of stroke patients. These are usually free and can be found through almost all hospitals and rehab centers. Many of my patient's families attend these. I've been told it's extremely helpful just to know you're not alone, and to find support from others who are dealing with similar losses and challenges. This is well worth the time. I'm keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. I know that I am far away, but if you need anything feel free to contact me.

  4. Stop, Mom, you're making me cry.

  5. I found your blog through a comment you made on Ian and Larissa's blog. My husband and I are caretakers for him mom who had a stroke (at 52). I know it's not the same as a husband, but we have many of the same thoughts about the slow pace of recovery, the worries about being able to find her meaningful work again, etc. I'm going to add you to my blog reader!

  6. Melinda - so glad you found me. Feel free to contact me via email - there should be a link on my profile. :)