My Heart Is Torn In Half


 

There are no tears to cry, no place to run and hide. I must stay and face the music.

 

Broken Heart

 

Everyone keeps telling me that God will give me no more than I can handle, and I think I can handle no more. To have to admit to myself that my time here is up, is the worst thing I have ever done next to filing my divorce papers, or maybe staring at my father in his casket, trying to burn his image in my mind, so that I will never ever forget his look.

 

My heart is torn because Al is doing his best, but I can not do it anymore. The stress of the headaches and wanting to pull my hair out one by one shaft, has almost put me over the edge of sanity.

 

I have heard others say place him, and others say don’t place him, and I have always been the fighter type personality, swearing I can do all things when it comes to making sure others are in the best condition they can be in, but tonight, I have a headache so big, it is scaring me. Tonight, when I am typing, the letters are being tossed backwards and forwards, not staying in order as they should, and I blame this on my stability of being able to think.

 

The caregiver called me earlier this evening to inform me that she would rather spend her time with her kids tomorrow, and so she didn’t want to come. She asked if this was alright with her, and I smarted off. I couldn’t help it, but it came out and for a few moments, I was ashamed of myself. She is a caregiver that gives showers only, no emotions involved, no talk is tossed between the two, shower and go, and always a wink to Al, saying make the best out of today. I say screw her! He does try to make the best out of each day, and then he starts crying because he knows he fails at this attempt all the time.

 

Al didn’t understand even what I said, when I told him she wasn’t coming. He asked me what I meant, and I said quite frankly, she isn’t coming! He started crying. I told him to go in the bathroom and start the water and get his clean clothes out, and I would give him his shower tonight instead of in the morning.

 

As he undressed himself, I noticed he had too long of finger nails, and I remembered how that must not be part of shower duties for the caregiver, so I trimmed his nails. I also trimmed the hairs off of his ears, and also trimmed his mustache. That was a job in itself, because of his tears, his mustache was full of liquid gook! I had to keep wiping his nose so I could trim. I noticed a strong odor coming from him and wondered how long it had been since he had a shower, knowing it truly was yesterday.

 

When we were finished trimming, I helped him to stand and to sit on the shower chair. This is a three-fold step process. Stand and back up until your knees can feel the shower chair, sit down, turn around and lift one leg at a time until completely on. He didn’t get it right the first time, so we had to do it over again, and when he scooted over, I noticed the color brown all over the shower chair.

 

I had mixed emotions about this, but just told him that I would have to clean his bathroom when done and he was safely sitting in his recliner. I had already noticed when I did laundry that morning, that there were too many yellows and browns in his under clothing, telling me he was beginning to struggle more and more with bathroom facilities.

 

Last evening he was so upset, because not only is he becoming obsessed with having his number two’s happening, he has begun the digging process, and now he is upset because he hasn’t gone pee for an  hour. What? I don’t even pee every hour, but then I realized he is just carrying over his obsession from number two to number one and two. Oh my gosh, how am I going to deal with this.

 

So when I saw this on the shower chair, everything clicked inside of me and I knew it was over.

 

I have to admit, I don’t know too much about dementia. I know more about the Alzheimer’s disease. I just know that he didn’t and sometimes does not understand simple sentences with very few words, and he is struggling in the bathroom now. He cries at every thing I say.

 

Tonight after supper I went into his room and turned the fan on in his window. It was so much cooler outdoors than it is in here, and when each of us turn our window fans on  and leave our doors open , in no time, the home is completely cooled by nature.

 

He went nuts, and without using his cane practically ran to his room, to close his bedroom door. I explained that he had to leave it open, that I was not turning the air on just because he wanted to keep Cali, the kitty out of his room. He was so stressed out,  that this caused another outburst of tears and arguing. This was brought on because the first day we had our new kitty, she had lived outdoors and didn’t recognize her kitty box until the next day, then all was safe. I had told Al to close his bedroom door for that one day, and I would close my bedroom door also, until she was box trained, thank goodness there was only one accident, and she had the training all down in twenty-four hours.

 

Al would make remarks after that day, saying look, she is using her cat box, and we would both laugh and I would say yep, she sure is!  But, when I told him to leave his door opened, he used Cali as a reason not to, and so once again I explained how it was safe now, that we both knew she was box trained, but he argued and cried.

 

With all of this and the knowing he is so sad and wants to die, and all the gravy dumped on top of the disease, I can not do anymore. It is going to cost me my health, maybe even a stroke or worse. I have to make the calls. I have to find a place for him where he will be happy, but my heart is torn in half, and this will be so hard. I am going to need all the positive support I can get, as there is no support here around me. Please help me get through this, I beg of you. It is like another death in a way to me. I know I will be able to go see him, this is not the point. It is another loss of a family member, like losing my own mom and dad, and finally the walls will speak no more, the ceilings will shed no more tears, and all around will be silence, until I build my life, opening the page to a new chapter.

 

74 thoughts on “My Heart Is Torn In Half

  1. No honey it will not be another death, it will be that door opening and maybe a window too. It will be hard but it will be better and he needs more care than you can provide now. You are so wonderful to have seen this before it got too bad. You have made a good decision. You cannot be everyone. You are only one. Make those calls tomorrow, start the ball rolling. You need some silence to heal yourself now. Al needs this too. Take care. I will keep reading . c

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    • i guess the heart being so painful right now feels like it did when my father died, but i know you are right. he will probably be happier in the end, having friends and activities surrounding him all day instead of his room and television mainly for his life. i will start tomorrow

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  2. I clicked the “like” button but actually I hate it. I hate that he can tell what’s happening to him, that he feels the worry about it, that its come to this point. I hate that, despite how loving and giving you’ve been with him, losing him to a facility is a horrible loss for you. I would say to not expect him to be “happy” wherever you move him. It won’t be home and he’ll have a big adjustment. We moved my mother from a brand,, spanking new high tech facility where, as it turned out, the staff treated her unbelievably badly. Her new facility was much older, not as snazzy but staffed with long-term, skilled, kind staff. I still won’t say she’s happy but we alll know the care level is high. Be kind to yourself and believe that you’re making the best decision.

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    • i am so hoping that when this painful time is over, that he will make friends who are more like him, have his days filled with activities. the blessing of his mentality will hopefully be found enjoying the simple activities that we would not enjoy. although i love him it is difficult to take him on outings anymore, and so he ends up sitting here watching the television. i would think seeing more people and having group times may help him with his sadness, or at least i m hoping. this hurts like hell………..

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  3. Yes, it’s time to build your own life, open the page of a new chapter. This is about making the right decision so that both Al and YOU receive the care and attention you each need.

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  4. I have seen this myself Terry. I used to mow lawns for the elderly people and I saw a fair bit of this. It is so sad the way things regress, but regress they will and there is nothing you can do about it. You are slapping yourself with guilt, don’t. You have done everything that has been possible to humanly do. As the carer, your ability to cope is of priority importance. You know within yourself you have reached your limits.
    Throughout the course of your brothers illness you have been forced to make decisions that are in his best interest. His best interests include the care that he continues to need after you have exhausted yourself. You need to make those calls because its the best thing you can do for him now. You will do it because you love him. You are not loosing him just because he is no longer physically with you in the house everyday. You can visit him as much as you like.
    Sometimes the frustration turns to anger and violence. Anger at the world because its so unfair. You need to be aware of this and avoid it before it happens. He sounds like he’s not far from that. Which is why he gives you such a hard time. He’s taking out on you because he has no other way of expressing it. Not because he doesn’t love you.
    I don’t think you really need to ask anyone what to do.You already know. Even though other people do care a lot for both of you, they do not live your life and it dosn’t affect them as such. The dicision is yours, it always was.Take care my friend.

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    • all i can think of is hurry up and get it over with so that i may soon see a smile on his face as he is having the time of his life with other residents…………….but for now, i feel weak, but am trying to stay strong

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  5. Crying as I read this, Angel Terry. Love you and praying for His love and mercy to cover you as you go through this. You have done all you can do and more . .way more.

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  6. You have gone so far above and beyond what most people would do–it is time for you now. As you say you can visit and be there for him in other ways. I am so sorry you are so torn. Do not listen to those who tell you what to do–you know in your heart what you should do. If it is time, it is time — and many times when people live where they can get round the clock help they themselves are happier. I so feel for you — I was in a similar situation years ago — and it is so not easy.

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    • did u carry the guilt like i am? i am trying so hard to shake it off, knowing in my heart i have done all i can, but some part of me is asking, could i do more, but then the answer comes back with i m so tired. i need more help for him

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      • you know, I think your guilt will fade when you see Al thrive in a place that can take care of him – you are your brother’s keeper only to the point where you can do it — then you support him as much as you can when he is being taken care of — do not ruin your health
        when I had to make the decision it was heart wrenching but worth it in the long run

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  7. Oh Terry, I can’t tell you that I understand how you feel. I have never been there. But I can tell you that there comes a time that you have to let go. You haven’t failed. You have be glorious! You have stuck it out longer than most and you should hold you head high! There comes a time though that you have to give it to ones to handle. There is no failure in that. No failure at all. You have come to understand that you can’t handle it anymore, that it has gone beyond your abilities. Maybe this is God’s way of softening the end so you don’t what to endure the worst part. Either way, we are thinking about you and praying for you!

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  8. i hardly know what to say, i am happy for you in that you have an answer that it is time and sad because as you said it feels like a death to you. thinking of you as you both make this transition.

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      • for sure i will, and you know, that placing Al is doing the very best for him too, as he won’t then feel how hard it is on you anymore, and you might both feel freer! for what it is worth, you are doing the right thing. you have hung on longer than most could, and most have more help if they are hanging on!

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  9. Terry, I’ve said all along that only you would know the time when it came that you might have to find a place for Al….Well it seems for your sake and for Al’s that time has indeed come. He will get the medical/physical/emotional needs that he has, met by the ones in the facility that you find, and you can return to being his sister who loves him. You, being stronger will have the patience and love and support to give him because it will not be a 24/7 issue. There will likely be others that he can relate to and he will see he is not the only one with limitations such as he has. That can have a positive effect I believe also. It will be difficult for you as it was when we first took my mother to her new home…a nursing home. It just was not feasible anymore to try and meet her needs…as we had for several years until it became evident we could do it no longer. But when Al gets into the new routine and you visit him and possibly take him out for lunch or supper as a diversion, you will enjoy your time together more than is possible right now.

    So make the calls, check them out and be at peace with your decision….Prayers of course..Diane

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    • you are so right Diane, i have to get rid of this nasty guilt that is clinging to me like my very own shadow. it is telling me u can do this, u can do this, and then i tell it, no i can not, i did but i can not anymore……………

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      • thank you Diane, i am trying to tell myself this over and over, no guilt, but getting him help that is now required above what i have done……………..bless u my friend for being here with me through this

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  10. Terry…seeing Al for the first time since last winter concerns me because the decline in his health is rapid. I believe you have done your best and that you are mentally and physically exhausted. It is okay to rest. You haven’t had any help at all…and not any support either.
    You are my Hero.

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    • yes, he has really spiraled in such a short time. others say it takes years, but for him it has been months. maybe if help was here i would not be making this decision, but after tonight, dealing with what i did, i have to move him to somewhere he can get more help than what i can give. thank u dear friend………

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  11. The time has come to look after yourself. As you place Al, remember your health needs to nbe number one before him and he will have good care 24 hours a day. You will be there everyday you can to visit with him.
    Gods love my friend.
    ♥Ed

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  12. Hun in your heart you know that you have not made the decision lightly it wont be easy and there will be more tantrums to come but in the long run you know it is now for the best Al will get the help he needs and you will be able to visit as much as you like without the stress of worrying about the day to day logistics of his care, Al will have a structured routine that will help him and without him being able to use emotional blackmail to get his own way as you know he does with you at times you will get a far greater picture of what issues are caused by the disease and which are other issues, you have done far more than many would have already and now you are proving your love for him yet again by doing what is best for him not what would make you feel better, because I know you would rather struggle to keep him at home than make this choice, I am sure if you find the right place and nce he is settled you may find that the quality of the time you have left with him improves with a change of situation, he has become stuck in a rut which is not helping either of you, a fresh approach may even bring him back to you for a little longer

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  13. As someone who lets guilt win a lot in my life, I will just offer encouragement that you will move forward in confidence, knowing you have nothing to feel bad about and that your decision is being made in love. There’s nothing wrong with that. Nothing at all. Obviously there will be pain, but it’s a pain of love, and one that will heal, knowing you are acting in love. You’re amazing to Al and he is blessed to have you. Doing this does not change that…in fact it reinforces your love for him. I pray for comfort and strength for you during this time of transition. You’re going to be ok!

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  14. I so sympathize with you and with Al. You have reached the point where you know what is best for you. I believe it is also best for Al. My guess is that it’s a strain for him to try to live up to whatever standards that house and you represent for him.

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    • he tries so hard and he can not help what is happening to me, but no, he worries that i will b unhappy with him as his dad was, but i have told him for five year that i love him and he is such a good person, but he refuses to believe, so this in itself is stressful for him without the illness

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  15. Terry, I am at awe. So sorry to hear it is to this point. This is an extremely difficult task for you to do alone, and you have been doing it for some time now. All that I can say is to remember that we are all vessels, here to help one another. You can only do what you can do. After that, you will know in your heart when it is over or time for you to quit. Our heavenly father will not put any more on us that we cannot handle. Not to worry. Things will get better. There is a new day over the horizon, just as there is light within all this darkness. Just keep the eyes of your heart open, and you will see. Take care.

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  16. at this point it sounds like you are both at risk for some type of injury, and though in so many ways this stage is worse than a death, please see this as the loving act it is. placing a loved one where they can recieve the professional care needed vs. keeping them at home and being “the strong one.”

    just remember it is not selfish to take care of yourself, as they say on the plane put your oxygen mask on first so you can help al through this next phase.

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    • thank u for this kind comment. it is wonderful to have all the support of you here. your words are comforting, this is for sure, and in ways, this is worse to me than death, because death is final…………………

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  17. I had my Mom for 5 years…and no one can know how it affects you and others involved…It was not my decision…but, my brothers and sisters thought it was time…Actually was all about not wanting to pay me any money for watching her…but, in less than a year and half…all her money was given to the nursing home …and she went on medicare only…It is and will be a very hard road…and yes, I will be truthful with you…Guilt will raise it’s ugly head…along with words from others that haven’t been doing anything for Al…You have the right to make this decision…and I am so glad it’s your choice…well, not choice…but, you have seen for yourself it has to be done…Stay strong… and I do pray the process can be done easily and that you find the best care possible…~mkg

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  18. Terry, The Bible says that there is a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes) It sounds like it is time for you to do what you knew would need to be done one day. Right now you are angry and hurt, and mourning that decision, and that is normal. It is always hard to realize you have reached your limit of the ability to help him. Don’t beat yourself up. Sending him to a nursing home, or assisted living home doesn’t mean you are losing him, because I know that you will still take the time each week to visit him, and let him know you care. Those around you who are supportive in this decision need to spend a week in your shoes, and their tone will be different. I know, I went through the same thing with my father-in-law. We always got comments from my sister-in-law, making it sound like we needed to keep going despite what it was doing to my own health being the one who cared for him most of the day. It changed when she had to do it for a while, but even then she thought it was only terrible when it happened to her. Talk about a major pity party! All we could do when she called and complained was say…”Now you know how it was for us.” There is a time when you have to face that you are not able to do it anymore, and you have to turn it over to those who can, because they have more staff, and are better trained to deal with the ever-growing progression of his health issues. That limit comes when you see your own health being affected. So don’t get down on yourself. If you continue to let this affect your health and you end up in the hospital or worse because of it, where will Al be then, and who will he have to show him they still love and care? For your sake and for Al’s sake this may be the best thing to do, so at least he still has you here to remind him that he is loved.

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    • Bonita, it is so difficult. one moment i am for placement, and the next i think i can do it a while longer. this is tougher than anything i have been faced with for years. thank u for being so supportive of me

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      • Than pray about it, and leave a fleece before God. Ask him to show you the right facility for Al if this is what his will is for the two of you. Ask him to open doors to the one that would be best and provide for the finances for it. He has never let me down when I’ve placed a fleece before him. This comes from the Bible, where a prophet laid fleeces before God as a sign of God’s will. I think it is in the story of either Isaiah, Elisha, or Elijah.

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  19. I am sorry for your pain right now. My mother in law also had Alzheimer’s and like you are doing for Al, we took care of her for 6 years, it broke my husbands heart to put her in a nursing home because he thought he was letting her down by not caring for her, when in reality by putting her in the nursing home he was taking care of her (his mind often told this, it was his heart that was saying something else). I understand and I will be praying for you, it is a hard road you are on, prayer indeed helps, leaning on God definitely helps and having friends and family to help you through this is one of the many gifts from God that will get you through this. Call on all of us who God put in your life, your family, friends and us – your blogging brothers and sisters. Blessings and Hugs from Pennsylvania – Patty

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  20. Sorry Terry – I have only just seen this because I have only retrieved all my notifications of your blog and others from my spam – argh – so am reading everything in the wrong order.
    I don’t like giving advice but this time I have to because it was only when a couple of Anthony’s friends and relatives gave me this advice, that I realized they were right. They said to me when I was doing what you are doing for Al, you cannot go on like this, so I am saying the same thing to you. You must place Al. You will be pleasantly surprised at how well he will probably adjust to this – please Terry! Lots of love Julie

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    • i am waiting on an email from a friend for a referral of an attorney as there is much more involved than just placement, but i m moving in the direction of going forth……….thank u for caring so much Julie, you know how much it means to me

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  21. I wish I had read this post earlier as I’m behind in catching up. I am so proud of you for making this call as I have been soooo worried about you in taking on more than you can handle. You must observe your limits and as I learned in First Aid for the past three days, you must rescue yourself first before you consider being of help to anyone else. Putting your sanity in danger is NOT an option, and you must advocate for your self-care first, or else end up injuring yourself. Please protect yourself first, and know that truly, this is God’s way of showing you what the next step is. To let others who are less emotionally involved to become supporters for him. You have taken on much more than any human being I know would handle, please don’t berate yourself, but congratulate yourself for making it this far.

    Hugs and love to you…

    Pink.

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      • Guilt is normal, but going insane is not an option. Prioritizing how much we can handle is one of our tests, you must also realize that your agony is a sign that this is much more than any human can handle, and for you to offload those eggs accordingly. Your basket is too heavy to carry for long durations. You must lighten your heart, if you are to make it to the end, my friend. Good for you! So proud of you for doing what is right for you, not what is right in the eyes of everybody, as really, it’s like that father and son with the donkey story where everyone had an opinion of how they should treat the donkey… in the end, it drove them nuts to follow everyone’s advice. You know what’s right. Trust yourself to make the right decisions, and follow them with much self-trust. 😀

        Hugssssss

        Pink.

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      • LOL.. Awwww… you’re the best! We shall have virtual coffee! I remain anonymous always as a principle. 😀 Easier for me to spill my guts that way. 😀 You’re in my prayers and I hope things are coming along towards your path of self-care 😀

        Pink.

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      • i don’t mind u are someone else, as long as u are not someone i know personally because then i would be more fearful about spilling my own guts out LOL

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  22. Oh, honey, my heart just breaks for you. But, you can’t let your own health slide. Who would make the decisions for Al’s care then? You said you would know when it was time and it seems the time has come. Prayers for you, my friend.

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  23. Terry, it’s not God that is behind Al sickness … its just things that happens to us in life – and of course we want to ask why .. we want to have answers, but God and Satan isn’t the answer to everything. We take burden on ourselves – of love and devotion, it’s not a decision made by God, it’s made by you. And I think you have far too much then you can handle, all because you have made the choice – an sickness/illness as Parkinson’s who knows what tomorrow will bring of problems and distress.
    Terry, when I see nature programs .. when cute ducklings are eaten by the utter …. have to stop watching, but it’s the way life is – it’s rough and tough … but that is not because God or Satan has a finger in it. It’s just life.

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    • you are right, god has not done this illness thing, it just is,and it took me awhile to accept this, but i have…………..i will have to give Al up one day, because there will b a time i can positively not take care of him, and then i will let him go, but i did get my caregiver for more hours. yeah!!!

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      • Terry, you don’t have to let him go … you have to let yourself go .. and to give the caregiver more hours is a step in the right way. To put Al into a home is going to be tough for you both – but when the day comes when you can’t do it yourself … it has to happen. Until then – you make sure you give more to yourself .

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