Editor’s Note: It was four years ago when we lost the inspiration for the Caregiver Chronicle – Cheryl Robinson, a case manager at the Senior HealthCare Center at Crown Pointe. One year later, we asked her caregiver – her husband, Paul, to share from a journal he had kept since her passing. It’s three years later, and we have asked Paul again to share with us some thoughts about what happens to a caregiver after the one they cared for is gone.
It had been right around one year at the end of 2018, after Cheryl died, when I wrote the first and only article so far about her loss.
That first year I continued working and was most fortunate with the many people that reached out making this time more manageable but I remember describing that it was all about grief and that grief stands alone in the category of emotions. I look at it now when I go back as if I were wearing a halo and that it may appear that all is well and you continue functioning but there is a difference in your soul and spirit.
In 2019 I continued working and realize now what a good thing that was for myself in transitioning to this new life. Things were brightening up and I was getting out more making new friends and reconnecting with friends I had not seen in years. These people and activities had a significant impact and benefit for me during this time. I further realized that Cheryl’s spirit could only wane so much and that it reached a level of comfort where it came to rest.
Her spirit though can be activated and missed. Big events like my oldest daughter’s wedding in 2019 and the upcoming wedding for the youngest daughter very soon in 2021 can bring around lots of thoughts and emotions.
The girls have managed things in their own personal way, but as sisters, and daughters to their most special mom they have a special relationship and are able to commiserate with her spirit as their mom.
I retired one month into 2020 and there were a host of things to do in connection with health, personal business, the house, trips I was intending to take, etc. There would be an adjustment to make just with retirement alone after working for so many years around others.
We then of course had the virus establish itself in March. This was less than two months after retiring and brought about more change. This staved off the personal contact with some of these friendships and contributed further to the time alone. It was at this point, where I truly felt a singleness and managing things by myself that I had not felt before.
I believe it helps to reach out with others you can find common interests with, maybe explore some personal adventures or things you’ve wanted to do, contribute to others in need where you can, and continue pursuing your interests and lifelong learning.
Family members and even friends can get tested during certain times, occasions, holidays, events like marriages and times when the girls may be missing Cheryl most. We have to all hope that Cheryl is shining her light and love over the first grandchild, a grandson that came into the world this year, 2021.
Also in this issue: