Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Layers of an Onion

The other day my husband did something that completely shocked me.  I won't say what it was although I was hurt and upset by his actions. 
You may ask, "How can a man of a mere 80 pounds, at the end of his life, still make his wife upset?" 
Well, apparently it is entirely possible.  Trust me. 

I racked my brain, why would he do such a thing to his wife and caregiver?  The person who has stood by his side this whole time and would move mountains for him, if possible.  Shortly after this occurred, a nurse told me that in her 30 years of experience dealing with dying patients, often the person departing from this world will, indeed, do something that is out of their norm and upsetting to those closest to them.  She feels that it might be a form of departure.  In some strange way- a gift to the caregiver, to just make them upset enough that they can separate their heart, just a little, from the situation in order to make it all the way through such a heart-wrenching experience.  Sounds good in theory.

Maybe it is a combination of many things. 
Getting to know someone can be like peeling back the many layers of an onion and when a person is nearing the end of their life, all of the emotional layers of that person slowly show through. 
One of those layers is control, or lack of it.  How terrible it must be to no longer be able to control the environment around you or your body itself.  To have others involved in your very intimate personal care.  What is the cause of needing control?  I believe it is fear. 

I don't know if I agree that the experience was exactly a gift, but I do agree with the nurse and it did cause me to take a step back and ask myself, "Who is taking care of me?" 
Am I emotionally and financially prepared for the day my husband departs? 
Do I remember the person I am inside and what am I doing to cultivate that person?
This is the first time that I have truly asked myself these things and I know that in order to find the answers, I will need to work through my fears and pull back the layers of my onion.

photo via


  1. My heart just goes completely out to you. Keeping you both in prayer and with much love...Donna

  2. My hubby ended up expressing that all his life he prided himself on being creative in tight situations and had always been self-reliant. At this point he realizes that he is no longer self-reliant and when the thought settles in, so does the panic. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate the illness from the dynamics of the relationship. There is much love in our hearts and it does give me hope that even at this stage in our lives there is the ability for our spirit to learn and grow. xoxo