“Any transition serious enough to alter your definition of self will require not just small adjustments in your way of living and thinking but a full-on metamorphosis.” Martha Beck O (Oprah) Magazine, Growing Wings, January 2004
When my wife became ill with MS, my ability to manage a full time occupation was tested many times in many areas. When her MS progressed to the point she no longer could walk, I was, although with difficulty, able to maintain my work schedule. In what seemed to be a very short time later, her ability to care for her basic needs deteriorated. The decision was made that I would stop working for a year and we would evaluate her health and needs at that time. During the latter part of that ‘year’, cancer invaded her body as well as severe colon problems. Unbeknownst to me, the wheels of transition were now in motion. I would no longer be working full time and collecting a paycheck. I would be giving bed baths, administering medications, cooking, cleaning, and driving to wherever. I really don’t mind do those things. They are mechanical. The real transition adjustment was to hear her cries of pain and see her tears of despondency 24/7 and I had to be there. That is not mechanical. The pain and discomfort would not cease until several operations took place. This was not to be a ‘stay home with the wife a few days because of the flu’ scenario. There is no more workplace to drive to, complain about. No one to hire, dismiss. The job description was simple; care for your wife.
I have transitioned from 44 years on the work force to what is now commonly called a “care-partner.” I could have never prepared myself for this transition. I ‘m not sure anyone can.
I’m not the same person because of this. I believe I am better. I could have put my wife in a home and continued in my “career.” I don’t want to go in a ‘home’, do you? This transition has challenged me with a known outcome. Caring for her is for the better. The outcome will be for the good. It is a healthy life when you can follow through on the love you have for someone; no matter who they are in your life.
“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Because of an accident, a friend of ours will be legally blind by the end of the year. His statement of “what do you do with a blind graphics designer?” is unanswerable at the onset. He soon discovered that Braille teachers are in demand and expensive. He was doing his best to ‘transition’ from a world of sight and colors to world of “winter and darkness.” So, he decided to take Braille anyway and when finished, he will go on to teach it. (And not charge as much). He can still see now, but the “tunnel” as he calls it is getting narrower. But his hopes are becoming wider.
Transition does invite us all for a ride at one time or another. The ride is not bad, not bad at all.