First Blog, on John’s 50th Birthday

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Today would have been John Graves’s 50th birthday. He was a big, beautiful handsome man. I was lucky to know him, and to have him as my husband for as long as I did. (It was not near long enough.) And, as you’ll read in this blog, on my Facebook page, and in my book “Checking Out”, John was diagnosed with a rare incurable brain cancer, gliomablastoma, after some otherwise inexplicable personality changes made it imperative to get a medical assessment, instead of the psychological help we’d been seeking.

I hope you’ll follow my blog, which will feature excerpts from the book, observations from my volunteer work at the Barrows Clinic, where John received most of his care (he would evetually pass at hospice), and how the lives of my children and I continue to change in the wake of John’s death.

Anyone who has had the responsibility of taking care of someone you love who, by a purely lousy luck of the draw, is essentially sentenced to death, I think, will relate to this story. And I hope I’ll hear from you and how your experiences mirrored or differed from mine.

I made 23 missteps for every right move I made. I think that’s not so unusual, but most people don’t want to talk about that. I want to talk about that with you. I think that will give us all strength and a better understanding of other caretakers who become “invisible” during the process of easing a loved one’s final journey.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on this post  by sharing a comment below. if you enjoyed the post, please share it by using one of the sharing links on the page.

©2010 Catherine Graves

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3 Comments

  1. Eva Wren

    You say you made 23 missteps, but how can there be missteps involving a disease that is so inexplicable and undefinable. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with the same brain cancer in June of 2005…and ten weeks later he passed away. He was a bigger than life truck driver/owner who didn’t know a stranger. He could tell you which roads to take to get anywhere in the country and where to stop for the best food, but suddenly he didn’t know how to get to his bedroom in the house he had lived in for 30 years. The Dr. never even sat down with my sister and explained what was actually happening, but said,”There is something in his brain and we don’t know what it is”. They performed a brain biopsy and then told her – in the hallway – that it was a tumor. We had no idea what to expect. It would have helped so much to have someone honestly portray what could be expected down the road. I finally had to pull a Dr. aside and say, “Look, they have a business to run and we need to know what to do” and then I was told he had weeks to months to live. I still believe they knew better what was down the road for us, but no one would say. We needed someone who had been through this to talk to – but there was no one. If you have not lived through someone suffering with a brain tumor you cannot appreciate the depth of it and the toll it takes on the family. After the radiation treatments ended, the seizures began and he started leaning to the right. My sister and I couldn’t physically support him when he fell and he ended up in the hospital. They had told us that patients usually pass in their sleep, but he still seemed so healthy we never expected it to happen so soon or we would never have left that hospital. He was awake and talking at 5AM and at 7AM they couldn’t get him to wake up. So we took him home and called hospice to help. He was totally unresponsive – except one time when my sister was talking to him and I saw a tear fall from his eye – he could hear us – I know. Four days later he was gone. Good luck to you in your quest for better caregiver support and advice – it is greatly needed. I believe in giving hope , but at the same time people should not be in the dark as to what to expect. We just wanted someone to honestly explain the situation to us. You did the best you could at the time, and that is all anyone can ask of us. Best of luck to you and your family.

  2. (you and me) might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly. Its not Gods will nor does he get any pleasure in seeing his children ( like you and I) suffer like this. But he gives us free will to do what we want. As Joyce Meyer says ( I suggest you start reading/listening to her- http://www.joycemeyer.org)
    “You can be pitiful, or you can be powerful, but you can’t be both”
    ― Joyce Meyer
    Now, I’m not telling you to stop taking meds if you are on them, or stop going to therapy groups if you are going them. But, If you are really interested in becoming ‘whole’ again, beauitiful Daughter.. then I suggest you give your life to God.. give him your brokeness and allow him to take you by the hand and lead you in the right direction.. towards him and towards others who will inspire you to be all that God created you to be and that my sweet Dear is to enjoy everyday life again. Life that has surprises and excitement. That is full of love, JOY and Peace. This is how Im getting better.. I Spend time with God everyday ( beleive me if I didnt. I wouldnt even be writing this to you right now..Id probally be thinking about myself and trying to figure out again what is wrong with me and just tolerating that this was meant to be.- another lie from the enemy.) I spend time either listening to Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. They are positive and admit where they have blown it and had struggles with. Joyce father raped her for over 18 years. But, today she is whole and helping thousands of men and women all over the world with her story and ministry. Joel and Joyce is on facebook and twitter and Joels website is: http://www.joelosteen.com So you can stay bitter or become better.. but you cant be both. I choose to completely be free from the prison of isolation and pity. How about you? You are destined for more!! Who knows.. God can use you to help others out of their pain and he has helped Joyce Meyer out of hers.. Peace to you. I declare that this is a new day to a very bright future and I Bind that spirit of Depression and anxiety off of you now in the Mighty Name Of Jesus!!! And I command Peace to come to your thoughts. No you are not crazy! No you do not have a mental illness. You are a daughter of the Most High God! Take your stand. Oh ya. also Praise and Worship music will uplift you! Heres a song for you. Turn up your speakers and recive Gods love. Cause he and me love you. You will be free from this prison of brokeness’ I guarantee.. just reach out your arms to God again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsEbQfCO5w&feature=g-vrec&context=G27cbcf4RVAAAAAAAAAQ
    Lovingly, Kathleen

  3. it cut off my message:
    Dearest Cathleen
    Hello, My Name is Kathleen. Id like to briefly share with you one* of my experiences that has made a major effect in my life in all areas and it too has plunged me into a deep depression, isolation and emptiness. I was my Mom’s Cargiver for a few years when I moved back home. She was then at the beginning stages of Altzheimers. It was very stressful and I didnt have any support or help from any of my siblings.. They just told me to ‘go ahead and work a regular job’ and ‘Mom will be allright’.. Well she wasnt ‘allright’.. My son had also moved back home a few years easrlier because she had had a heart attack and was living alone. But, he had to work and couldnt stay home to take care of her all day/ night. There were times it got to me so bad that I was having panic attacks and had to go to ER a few times. It was just to much to bare. And, as she got worse and worse it effected me physically, emotionally, socially. and still does today when I let it. I lost her in 2009 and since then I have been in a prison of pain. But, when I ask the Father to help me, he reaches forth his hand and picks me up back on my feet again. MY life had allready taken a downward spiral of loosing an Apt, a job and just ‘peace of mind’. Though you or someone else labeled your story as ‘slipping into madness’ or ‘loosing your mind’.. though it may feel as if you did. You didnt. You slipped into what you call a ‘Broken Heart’ my Dear. And, in time ‘Broken Hearts’ do become ‘whole’ again. If you give it to the Father God. Psalm 147:3 says-He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 34:18 says-The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Now, I’m sure you have been given ‘other options’ as I have been advised. Like- ‘go to therapy’ or ‘Take this anti-anxiety/ depression med’ and of course the lies that go with it if you do take it: ‘You will have to beon this the rest of your life’. Well my dear.. I refused the ‘meds’ and I re-surrendered my life back to Jesus. He has helped me get back on the path that leads to healing, love and wholeness. Yes, Im on a journey. We all are. God has helped me change my eating habits from unhealthy to healthy and also helped me to lose weight. Now, when I stray- which you know is easy for us to do. as it has been our ‘pattern’ to isolate, get into a pity party as we sink deeper and deeper into depression.. This doesnt help you and it doesnt help me. We get worse. We lose energy and ‘hope for life’. In fact, we stop enjoying Life alltigether. This isnt Gods plan. Its the Enemys plan to steal, kill and try to destroy you. Did you know that? John 10:10 says: The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they(you and me) might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly. Its not Gods will nor does he get any pleasure in seeing his children ( like you and I) suffer like this. But he gives us free will to do what we want. As Joyce Meyer says ( I suggest you start reading/listening to her- http://www.joycemeyer.org)
    “You can be pitiful, or you can be powerful, but you can’t be both”
    ― Joyce Meyer
    Now, I’m not telling you to stop taking meds if you are on them, or stop going to therapy groups if you are going them. But, If you are really interested in becoming ‘whole’ again, beauitiful Daughter.. then I suggest you give your life to God.. give him your brokeness and allow him to take you by the hand and lead you in the right direction.. towards him and towards others who will inspire you to be all that God created you to be and that my sweet Dear is to enjoy everyday life again. Life that has surprises and excitement. That is full of love, JOY and Peace. This is how Im getting better.. I Spend time with God everyday ( beleive me if I didnt. I wouldnt even be writing this to you right now..Id probally be thinking about myself and trying to figure out again what is wrong with me and just tolerating that this was meant to be.- another lie from the enemy.) I spend time either listening to Joyce Meyer or Joel Osteen. They are positive and admit where they have blown it and had struggles with. Joyce father raped her for over 18 years. But, today she is whole and helping thousands of men and women all over the world with her story and ministry. Joel and Joyce is on facebook and twitter and Joels website is: http://www.joelosteen.com So you can stay bitter or become better.. but you cant be both. I choose to completely be free from the prison of isolation and pity. How about you? You are destined for more!! Who knows.. God can use you to help others out of their pain and he has helped Joyce Meyer out of hers.. Peace to you. I declare that this is a new day to a very bright future and I Bind that spirit of Depression and anxiety off of you now in the Mighty Name Of Jesus!!! And I command Peace to come to your thoughts. No you are not crazy! No you do not have a mental illness. You are a daughter of the Most High God! Take your stand. Oh ya. also Praise and Worship music will uplift you! Heres a song for you. Turn up your speakers and recive Gods love. Cause he and me love you. You will be free from this prison of brokeness’ I guarantee.. just reach out your arms to God again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfsEbQfCO5w&feature=g-vrec&context=G27cbcf4RVAAAAAAAAAQ
    Lovingly, Kathleen

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