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it's easy to feel lonely


swilkinson

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Since Ray's stroke in 1990 he has had fatigue issues. I guess it didn't worry me at first that he went to bed early, after all he went back to work six months after the stroke and was bound to be tired. And at that time we still had kids living at home so there was always someone up and about. But as the years went by I have sometimes felt the loneliness of the "neglected" partner. It is not so much that I am alone, although certainly I am alone after he goes off to bed. But I am also alone in a lot of other ways too.

 

I am alone as the person who does the work here. Whatever there is to do it is my job. I know this is a constant theme with me but it is true and sometimes I wish I had someone working alongside of me. Ray and I had an old-fashioned arrangement, he was the outdoor worker, I ruled the inside of the house. So the lawns, the heavy work in the garden, maintaining the house in good order was his job. He also saw to the car, mechanical repairs etc. At some stages he also paid the bills as he was out and about more than I was. After the 1999 strokes all that devolved back to me.

 

In our pre-stroke life I raised the kids, tended the house, sometimes working outside of it as well. I acted as social secretary, took down phone messages, kept our social calendar, wrote letters to the family at a distance to keep in touch ( remember letter writing?) and made sure we had enough food etc in the house for the visitors ( my now I AM reminescing!) and organized the parties. Ray could trust that if we needed to go away suddenly I could pack up the clothes, the kids and the car and be ready to take off when he got home from work. Boy! we did that a few time when various of our parents were ill, when there was a funeral at "home" and we had to travel 10 or more hours to attend, and even once for a surprise birthday party we had 48 hours notice for!

 

Ray and I had a good marriage. We weren't always in agreement but generally we could reach a compromise. I only left him once and then only got to the back gate and realised the car was out of gas! And no way was I filling it up out of the housekeeping money, no sir! So I went back inside and unpacked and all was well. Well to be honest, maybe I sulked just a little. And mostly we got along with the rest of the family too. I enjoyed being a part of the community, the church, the family. There were a lot of good and happy times back then.

 

Now this is not a vent. I was just sitting here thinking how lucky I am compared to a lot of my friends. They are older widows, a few now almost to the stage where they should not be living on their own. I have had eight years of caring for Ray and with a little bit of luck will have further years of him being at home with me. But like the widows I often have no-one to talk to, no-one to share my troubles with, no-one to give me help or advice or counsel. So I am alone in the sense that I have to do a lot of things for myself, by myself.

 

As a caregiver I have lost touch with a lot of those girlfriends who would have formed my social group and been my advisory board. If I discuss things with them now I can see they are flounderng , not really knowing what to say when I tell them a small part of my problems. They are all outside of their comfort zones. But then I can come on here, post or reply to a post, put down some of my thoughts in a blog and I know the people who read it will understand some of what I am saying. So it is good to be part of a community of people in similar situations, either isolated by stroke or isolated by caring for someone with a stroke. And that is a comfort to me, that I am lonely but I am not alone.

 

I don't know what the future holds, none of us do. I know though that we make our own future. No-one else makes it for us. I can choose to be lonely, sad, thwarted by fate ( the stroke) or life and feel really sorry for myself. I can always settle on the pitty pot and have a pity party. But I don't see that as being a good long-term plan. Instead I really need to find a way of filling in the empty hours, getting back to being as independent as I can in how I spend my spare time. It is not a good prospect to see empty years stretching away ahead of me and so I need to fill them in a way that makes me happy and keeps the loneliness at bay. Any suggestions would be welcome. I feel at this point that I need to look at this issue and find a way ahead.

 

I have just had a long chat with a woman who is looking after parents with dementia. Like me she is locked into a situation not of her making. Like me she is struggling to make sense of the situation she finds herself in. We each deal with the difficulties in life as best we can. Interacting together made both of us feel less lonely, and less alone. That can be really empowering. I am glad that has been one if the things I have been able to do here.

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Sue,

 

I can empathize with your feelings of lonliness. For summer, I have company virtually 24/7 as kiddo is home from school. Once school starts for her, I will be "on my own" once again. From her standpoint, she can truly relate to your lonliness as she has not met any kids outside family yet. We've got 27 days till school starts.

 

For your alone times, try to fill your time with things you enjoy doing outside of "chores" such as crafts, reading, listening to music. These help pass the time. For me, the internet is my time filler - time seems to pass by quickly for me. I love Free Cell :Typing: and Solitaire.

 

Be careful what you wish for; after the grandbabies leave you may very well relish your alone time

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Guest thegoodlife

Posted

 

Hi Sue:

 

I am not a caretaker but was one. I now live alone but don't feel as lonely as I did when I was caretaker. There are so many things I can now do even as I am a stroke survivor that I couldn't do before.

 

I do not know your situation as well as I would like too; but must must commend you because caretaking is a very hard job. I look up to anyone who can 'do it all'!!! :cheer: :cheer:

 

As a few suggestions as I am friends with caretakers and as survivor have learned many different things that survivors enjoy. As life goes on we need to always change; so change a bit. Maybe, find a different group you would enjoy; like the one woman you talk to. There are many places here and opportunities to take advantage of but we all seem to get 'stuck'. Kinda like contented but not contented. :nuts::nuts:

 

So; keep on the good work and just by realizing and sharing it is one step to the right direction. The woman I know gets relief from her church members once a week so she can go and do whatever she wants. Plus; she told me that when her husb. sleeps or she gets him settled she can leave awhile and do some errands or go see a friend. It's just a matter of trusting that Ray will be ok- if you can find a person to releive you once in a while to do 'your thing'. :Clap-Hands: :blah_blah: :happydance: Whatever you decide that might be. Also, if Ray enjoys anything you can take him there; then go with someone to lunch or take a class or just be nice to yourself and go sit in a mall or park and people(I call it People Zoo) watch-alone or with someone else who needs that too. :friends: :yadayada: :yadayada:

 

Here we have a senior citizen center that offers many different things you can even take Ray along-that might be something you might want to look into. Find a place where both you and him could enjoy something :lol: :sleazy: and 'do it' ---- :Dr_Evil: that's the change part that is hard but usually turns out delightful !!!

 

Good Luck I hope some of my suggestions at least cheer you up a bit.

 

Also, I have to say this site has helped me alot and if you have good sense of humor I could forward you some really cheer you up and funny jokes and stories that have made 'lots of my days'!!!! Send me an email if you would like-and I'll forward some of them to you. Although lots come from Bessy so maybe you get to see those?

 

The Best to You and Ray---Have a Very Fun Day today okay??????

 

Nancy

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Hi Sue,

 

I am also a long timer in the caregiver world. My wife had a stroke in Oct. of '97 so I can appreciate some of what you go thru with Ray. You must find time to escape periodically at least mentally if not physically. Fortunately we qualify for a caregiver to come in and give me time outside of the house. I probably would have lost my sanity long ago without the relief. Right now she is away at a snf since her care requirements exceeded my abilities. I belong to several different organizations that help me by being out of here and doing something else.

If I can be of help feel free to pm me and I'll try to get back to you. I don't log on every day so please be patient with me.

 

Best wishes,

 

John

 

 

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