I remember, shortly after my husband was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis he said to me,
"I have an idea. Let's just go along with our lives as we always have and pretend that this (diagnosis) never happened."
"That's fine in theory." I said.
"I wouldn't mind trying that, although how long do you think that will work?"
We then had a long discussion about the pros and cons of denial. As though denial is something we could "decide" to do. Which is kind of ironic considering the discussion alone meant we were accepting what has occurred. Throughout his illness, we both experienced different levels of denial. Within the months that followed, he would toss and turn in his sleep and the next day, I would ask him if he remembered what his dreams were about.
"I was dreaming about being on the truck." Or, "I was at work." Was his usual response.
Months later, when he was unable to walk or leave his bed -it was my turn. At night, I always dreamt about he and I holding hands and walking. The dreams were so strong that when awaking, I would have to stifle my sobs, so that he would not hear them.
Even up to the few days prior to his passing I lived in a world of denial, while he, on the other hand, seemed to have come to a strange level of acceptance.
He would say to me, "When I am gone, please take care of yourself. Do not just settle for someone new. You deserve the best."
Meanwhile, I would say to him, "You can't die just yet, we haven't taken care of such and such...."
I did not do the proper thing that most caregivers should do, giving him permission to go.
I never did grant that to him. It was a very selfish thing on my part and I knew it, but I just couldn't tell him it was okay to leave me.
The whole time I took care of his everyday needs and with my own two-eyes saw his strength leaving him. We even discussed his wishes for after he was gone. In advance, I went through the proper channels of arranging all of these things, just as though I was scratching off a list in my day planner. Yet, I was in denial that there would ever be a time when he would physically leave me.
My hubby died in my arms and I literally saw the light leave his eyes.
But, I was surprised. It took me off-guard. Now, I wander around the house looking for him.
I rush up the stairs to tell him about my day.
I turn corners and expect to see him.
I call his cell phone to ask, "What time will you be home?"