If you are lucky or have worked real hard, your home is a sanctuary and a safe place. It's the place where you can recharge and renew your energy before heading out into the world again. A lovely home with comfortable furnishing make the surroundings nice but the joy in a home comes from the people that you share it with.
The stress of my mother's end of life journey invaded the home Marty and I had created. Marty, as my mother would say, was a "real trooper". He did not complain or question my need to be with my mother during her end of life journey. Looking back on that period, it was a rocky time for the both of us.
I did not see how unhappy Marty was until he spoke up after another frantic call from down South asking me to return. Marty knew I had to go and wasn't trying to stop me but he wanted some recognition from me that I knew this was hard on him too. As we talked about his feeling I came to understand that is was painful for Marty to see me in pain and be unable to do anything alleviate it. I also began to see that it wasn't just my life "on hold" but that our life was on hold as I walked my mother's end of life journey with her.
Recently I was talking to a friend whose widowed mother was in crisis. She was sharing with me her difficulty at taking control of her mother's physical and financial world, her worry about finding the right kind of help to care for her and how to pay for it all. Our conversation was identical to the ones being held everyday by people whose parents are aging. As we talked I noticed her husband mentally withdraw from the conversation and eventually move away from us physically. I know this couple to be loving and supportive of one another but I could see how difficult our conversation was for my friend's spouse. Their whole life had become about caring for my friend's aging mother and he couldn't handle listening to the conversation one more time.
The pain of watching your mom or dad leave this world is not yours alone. The pain touches the people that care about you too. I encourage you to reach out to your significant other and acknowledge their love and support during this journey. You are not walking this journey alone and your spouse may need a physical and emotional embrace along the way too.