In light of recent events, i.e. B. Smith and her husband Dan, different outlets have been contacting me requesting interviews. I have done a couple and there is more in the works but I wanted to explain a couple of the reasons I wrote the book in the first place.
Whenever a loved one becomes ill and/or incapacitated, everyone is affected. No one more so than the spouse/partner of that person. While there is usually medical and emotional support for the patient, a lot of the time the partner/spouse is often forgotten. Once they are left to their own devices it is up to them, and them alone to travel the journey in the best way they see how. To have added pain and/or shame for making certain decisions, causes further undue suffering. So if the spouse of a patient is who is debilitated feels he/she needs a parter to help support them in their heinous journey they should be supported. Without judgement.
It’s the judgement I am most passionate about. There are some who believe they know what is best for the spouse and what they should and/or shouldn’t do. Often people don’t see the new “love interest” as a support person -they don’t see someone who gives support but also brings joy back into the life of the partner. Until we know, for sure, exactly what that person is living through, day-to-day -no one has the right to judge what anyone feels they need to do.
The B. Smith story started the conversation and what a hateful judgement filled conversation that is. There is no room in humanity to tear people down just because you don’t agree with someone. While I don’t know most of the public details of the story. I also profess to not know what their intimate conversations were when they first got her diagnosis. There may have been a conversation where B. Smith told her husband to move on, to be happy once she was no longer “here”. And perhaps it was because she gave him permission -that he is doing just that, while he is still caring for her and loving her in the capacity in which she needs it. Regardless of their conversation or not -he is doing what he feels he needs to. He has not abandoned his wife. She is still very much-loved and cared for. He is still there “till death us do part”.
And this leaves me wondering; why don’t couples have these types of conversations? Why is this conversation any different from durable power of attorney when someone is incapacitated, medical power of attorney, etc -the list goes on about things we do discuss with our loved ones -but why haven’t we visited this yet? With Alzheimer’s on the rise, it’s something we all need to begin to think about. I realize it’s a bit uncomfortable. But if a person can put their jealousy aside and realize that while the person with the dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc is the ultimate victim -that the suffering of their loved one could be eased if we give them permission.
While I know this isn’t something everyone agrees with -but perhaps we can all learn at least this, “everyone’s journey is their own”. -Tami Reeves from “Bleeding Hearts”.
Let’s all lift up each other in all ways -but especially during times when its needed most.