by Judith in California

I was watching Dr. Phil the other day and he said " When you give up so much of yourself into the other person in a marriage it's not good". Then why get married? I thought the idea of getting married was to become one, to care for one another in sickness and in health. How do we not give up more of ourselves when a partner gets sick and needs us so much. We can't be selfish and say oh I'll care for you a little but when it becomes too hard I'll stop.

We , of us who had to do just that, look at Dr. Phil and say What the hell are you saying?

I know we don't give up our beliefs for another or our likes for something just because they don't like it but how do you not pour your heart and soul into the very person you vowed to love and cherish and honor?

I gave my all and then some and it physically took it's toll on me after he passed. I gave and gave and will never get back a thing but the knowledge that I did my best for the person I swore to love and did so with every fiber of my being for 35 1/2 , wonderful but sometimes trying to the very core of me, years.

My body is damaged from all the lifting of him. My kidneys are at stage 111, my bladder has had to be repaired from prolapse, in the near future a rectocele will be repaired. I am a mess , but would I do it differently could I go back? The answer is NO. I would still be hands on being there for him all the way.

Last week I had 4 dreams/nightmares of us verbally fighting and I wake up crying and not wanting to remember the bad times. The times of him being cold and distant when he didn't like something my son did, pouting like a child. The times he threatened to leave instead of staying and trying to figure out a way to help solve the problem like a mature man. The times I had to beg for his hugs and kisses and never got them because he was mad about some thing he could not control. I chose to go to him and hug him and kiss him instead. I wrote letters to him stating how much he hurt me when would say ugly things to my son and me. I'd ask him stop and tell him I'd consider leaving if he could not stop. He would then be all apologetic and want to work it out ....until the next time.

I gave my all and I would give anything to have him back before he got PD and fell and spiraled healthwise downhill to his death a year and one month ago. My heart is broken and I cry so hard lately, so conflicted with the emotions and memories that I will probably never resolve in my head for fear of going crazy. I guess I'll have to say I loved him all the time but there were times that tried my last nerve. And it makes me wonder when I hear someone say they had 20, 30 or more years of bliss with never a fight or disagreement.

I am so lonely more so than when married. I cry more so now than when he died. It's all so overwhelming to think about. I have forgiven him those times but I will not forget them. How can I? I still reach to touch his shoulder when I go to bed.

In the future, if I get the chance, will I give so much of myself again?

Comments for I GAVE MY ALL

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Mar 31, 2012
Obsessive thoughts of negative past
by: Anonymous

My husband died in July 2011. We were married for 42 years. After 3 months of marriage he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Over time he developed ALL the complications --- eyes, toe amputation, high blood pressure, horrible mood swings, a kidney transplant -- and in the end another kidney failure, which is was killed him. I lived with all of that for 42 years. I'm exhausted. It's been just about 9 months now since he died, and I still can't settle down to relax. I'm waiting for the next shoe to drop ---- although there are no more shoes to drop. The final one dropped when he died. But I've been stressed out for so long. We had no intimacy for the past 25 years due to diabetes. He either could not or would not show me much affection in the form of hugs and/or kisses. I had to beg for both. He always told me those things weren't important and would refuse to even discuss them with me. I felt rejected and unloved. He told me it was all in my head! Why did I stay? I guess I loved him, and I was bound to fulfill my wedding vows. Now I'm alone at 65 and feel like my life was ripped away from me. The love, the attention, the intimacy that I needed and deserved ---- well, I had none of it. In some ways I feel relief, and then I feel guilty about that. Other times I just miss him so much regardless of what or how he was, and I want him back so I can prove to him that I can "get it right" for him this time around. I feel like I'm losing my mind at times and feel like I can't take another minute of these obsessive thoughts about the past --- much more another day!!! I feel empty, I feel tired, I feel emotionally drained, and I've lost interest in all my hobbies. I'm seeing a psychologist who thinks I'm doing great and am expecting too much too soon at just 8-1/2 months. But wow, I just want to get on with my life and somehow find peace.
God bless us all.

Nov 08, 2011
we give it our all
by: Anonymous

Your stories are all so alike, and so true..we give them our all to the end...like many of you said there were times I would think why, why am I doing this without help..just me caring for him because he didn't want anyone else in our home....to see him sooo sick,
he would not take any pain killers which would of made it easier on him and myself..he was a very stubborn man in many ways...but this was one of the many reasons I loved him sooo.we were married 45 years and together 47..most of my life was spent with him..we met just before he got out of the Navy...he was soooo handsome, his blue eyes would light my heart on fire...the night before he died he took my face in his hands and looked at me with those eyes and I again felt like I did that day we met...I miss him sooo... his smell,his big strong hands and a body of a young man..yes, to answer my own question "why do we stay with them till the end" because in our hearts
he is still the man of our dreams...that we will never be able to replace...Love and Hugs go out to all of you...God Bless...

Oct 12, 2011
I gave my all
by: Mari

Reading these posts it sounds like everyone gave their all. I can honestly say that I admire you ladies so much. It is good to know that what I went through was normal for the circumstances.Remember when we felt we could not make it another day? Believe me I still miss him but have come to terms with the fact that I will not see him again in this life. He is safe with the Lord. It was just his time.And this is a great place to come and post messages.
My husband left a legacy of love with the grandchildren. And with me. He told me he loved me before he went to sleep that last night.As a grandpa he was the greatest.And with me he was equally as generous.
I like to remember the funny things he said and the way he teased me about my fine flyaway hair.It helps to laugh. I did not laugh much the first year and a half.
I did not mind taking care of him but became overtired. At that time I still worked at the hospital and one morning someone said my husband was in ER. I clocked out to be with him.The doctor kept adding more prescriptions and I had to go to WalMart before work and it is in a different city He rallied with the good care he got but only lived a few days longer after the stents were put in his heart at the heart hosp. I fed him at the heart hospital as he had to lie flat without moving for so many hours.
Now listen to this. When he got out of the hospital he actually went right to work when he was told he had to stay off work a month.I begged him not to go.
But I look back and see that he was a good man who just didn't listen very well.
It is interesting to note that I did not believe he had passed away. My son kept saying,''Mom. He is not here''. I had a feeling of unreality for a long time.
In fact I had vivid dreams where I was sure I saw him.But as I said,''I am better.I had to learn to make my own decisions and just be me.My parents loved him too, said he was the best thing that ever happened to me. And so he was.
Working helps me. I have a boss who encourages me and says I am a blessing to the facility. I think getting that job with that wonderful Armenian lady was a turning point for the better. I love taking care of the DD persons as people are my priority.My bosses mom calls me just to see how I am doing. The entire family is warm and kind. So I know God is always with me, always has been through it all.

Oct 12, 2011
I gave it my all also
by: Judy

I feel like I'm chiming in a little late but I wanted to add this. I bet if you looked closely at any of us who did caretaking or endured a long period of illnes we would ALL have periods where life was awful, we said awful things and our beloved behaved in an awful way to us. That's the nature of the situation and the nature of persons. My Bear lost his leg to a raging infection and for months he was whiny and complaining and got so awful I could hardly stand to be around him All this time I was pushing the wheelchair around with this 200+ lb man up and down handicapped ramps etc. Sometimes he was so awful he embarrassed me in public and I wanted to get in the car and drive off and leave him sitting on the sidewalk. Of course I didn't do that and of course he got better when his prosthesis was fitted but believe me, life was tough for a while I look back on this marriage which great fondness and appreciation for the way he loved me but it wasn't always the rose garden. I love him no less and miss him no less but the truth is this kind of thing exhausts you.
We are survivor all in many different ways. Bully for all of us.


Oct 12, 2011
I gave my all
by: Mari

I like all the posts because I know now it is okay to go through an anger stage. The sick spouse involves demands on our time and worry.
I already went through it.It has been nearly 2 years and I have come to terms with all we went through toward the last.
I try to remember all the good he did. He was especially loving with grandchildren that were not actually his own. He provided well too.My children could come to him with any need and he was there for them. He helped me raise an out of control teenager who now is 34 yrs old, has an excellent job and a family of her own.
He was kind of grouchy though. He had traits that were hard to understand. I could go every 2 years and buy a brand new Buick and yet sometimes getting $5 out of him was impossible.
People say I am much stronger and coping well on my own.Well, now I am better. At first I was basket case.I understand better the stages of grief. I realize I am probably overdoing myself with the 2 jobs at age 66 but it keeps me busy and pays the bills.I bought myself a new Chevy Cruze and love it.
He denied the grandchildren nothing.
The arguments were due to dementia and illness. I did fight back.I do not keep my council when being yelled at.Well, I do my best. I don't like coming home to an empty house so get my grandaughter to be here when she can.I miss him but he is God's care and keeping.I understand how people are feeling on this board. And I care for all of you.

Oct 11, 2011
I gave my all
by: Mari

I am so sorry Judith. You obviously gave your all. Of course caring for a sick person will be difficult. And arguments will ensue as the sick person loses control. Please do not blame yourself.It sounds to me as if you wore yourself out taking care of that man.I realize you are wondering if you had done all you could do and thinking of the arguments. Well Judith, men can be a pain in the a-- even when well. My husband refused to go to the doctor.He refused to go to ER. We argued over his meds, a whole bag of them when I tried to help him. Don't get me wrong. I loved that man but worked, went to Wal Mart often and got more meds when those ran low. I finally got him to go to my doctor but it was too late.He had some dementia and would say a lot things so I would get in my car and take off.He would call me on my onstar and tell me to get home NOW. So things would be better til the next night. Anyway as for being my own person I have worked toward that simply because I have had no choice. We sure
didn't ask for this.We have to go on.Now I think DRPhil is great but I am myself and although was joined in Holy matrimony with my husband we were as one. But I don't have him anymore. It was awful but next month is the 2 year anniversary and I am doing much better. I am a little concerned about my birthday Nov 20th as my husband always made a big deal out it.But on the 22nt he left to go with the Lord. Take care of yourself. We care for you.

Oct 10, 2011
foot note to I GAVE MY ALL
by: Judith in California

I did give up who I was for him. I was there for him, his needs and wants and as a sounding board to his tirades and even at the earliest part of our relationship his physical abuse 2 times and once to my son for which I told him if he ever did that again I'd have him arrested . WE ended up in counseling as part of his court order and he knew he had better never touch me again. HE attempted to a third time after 6 years for which I became strong and shoved him into a wall and told him if he thought I'd tolerate one more time he was crazy and I would Lorena Bobbit him if he ever tried it again. That was the end of it.
My son still holds my feet to the fire for staying with him all those years.

I am making sure I remember him honestly . After he fell he became more loving and verbal about it. But his meds and bouts with denmetia made him call me awful things and I now feel so bad for my ugly responses to them, I have begged for his and God's forgiveness.

My hope is that my confessions will help me rest.

The word below is IODINE like healing for the wounds I have.

Thank you Hope and Trish for your caring responses.

Oct 10, 2011
Now give your all to yourself


I think that he meant giving up who you are to mold into what they wanted you to be. The Love and caring that we gave them when they needed it was pure Love. I guess in retrospect it would be sacrifice but really, wouldn't they do the same for us? Isn't that what Love was all about riding it to the end. Loving them in sickness and in health?

I think that the illnesses that our loves had made them...different. And it was hard then to take care of them wanting the love that we once knew.

But they did love us. Always in sickness and in health and still to this day look after us. And of course you need to look after your self. Loneliness can eat away at our soul making our purpose in life at this point a little foggy.

We still have the rest of our life to live and we need to make it count. Perhaps we need to do things that we never did before and always wanted to. To change the routines and traditions that we had and make new ones, new rules that have no boundaries knowing that life is short so very short and we need to make each day count.

Oct 09, 2011
OMG....Dr. Phil!!
by: TrishJ

Judith, Judith, Judith~
Thank you sweet lady. Your post is exactly how I feel. I have gone through two months of being so angry with my husband and reliving every hurtful thing he ever did to me. I think in my psyche if I come up with all the bad things I will convince myself there is nothing to miss. Our marriage was far from perfect. We fought like the War of the Roses many times but I would give up a limb to have him back. He was no angel and neither was I. I miss his smell, I miss his big strong hands, I miss his laugh, I miss curling up to him at night. He was always the life of the party. Many times my children would say, "Mom, dad thinks he's funny and he's just not." Yes he was funny. Always up for a good time. Always so full of life.
I sit here today and my body is exhausted. I had to change IV's, do daily sterile dressing changes, set up 15 medications daily, cook him a low sodium diet, walk him, help him to the bathroom, drive 1.5 hours to Chicago 5 times a week when he was hospitalized. I want it back. I miss it. My worst day with him is better than any day I've had since he died.
People who say they spent so many years in "Wedded Bliss" are lying. There is no perfect marriage. My husband and I would argue, call each other names that neither of us meant, make up and start all over again. We loved each other. That's all. We really loved each other. Your marriage sounds so much like mine.
Some days I actually think, "What am I missing? The stress, the strain, the uncertainty, the sleepless nights, the terror, his attitude some days, the daily grind of his care, his complaining about the low sodium food I cooked tasting like cardboard, emptying his urinal, running to an all night pharmacy because I ran out of a medication?" Yes. I miss it all.
I know there is a part of me that I would never be able to share with another man. My husband was my love in this life. I miss him and I know you miss your husband.
All we can do is do our best. I keep going on knowing that I will see him again some day.
God bless Judith and thank you for this wonderful honest post.

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