Planning for Your Second Half.
Today we are going to start with a small literary lesson. If you would, join me in learning more about the word advocate. As a noun, an advocate is a person who represents another person’s interests, like a lawyer does. In fact, the word comes from the courtroom — it’s from Latin advocare, to “add” a “voice.” To advocate is to add a voice of support to a cause or person.
Some time ago, I met with a lady (we’ll call her Roxanne) whose husband “Robert” had died recently. Robert suffered from Alzheimer’s that developed late in his life which greatly hampered his ability to function. Roxanne provided care for him at home for several years. Finally, she reached the point where she could no longer do it. The debilitating effects of Robert’s Alzheimer’s required that he receive 24/7 care in a long-term care facility.
Roxanne was despondent but was trying her best to hold things together even though her beloved husband resided in a nursing home the last several months of his life. During this time, Roxanne served as a tireless and effective Advocate, ensuring that Robert received the best care possible. Even during these last several months while many things have been shut down, Roxanne still visited several times a week. Her “visit” would consist of standing outside of his room and talking to him through the window.
Yes, it was hard. Roxanne had determined to be as close and supportive as possible! Of course she always communicated with the nursing home staff, making sure that Robert was receiving the best care possible. She always checked on things such as medication, meal’s, mobility, exercise, therapy received, sleep patterns, among others.
“A” for Effort
I would say that given all of the things that Roxanne did, she deserved an “A” in the effort department. As a caregiver and advocate, Roxanne was a cut above! The Alzheimer’s finally took its toll and Robert has now passed on. Meeting with Roxanne, I could tell that she was suffering the trauma that often occurs after the loss of a loved one. She tried her best, however, to maintain a positive and upbeat demeanor.
Even though Robert was not able to communicate with her the last several months that she visited with him, she always felt his presence. She just feels an empty void now that her husband is gone. Instead of knowing that he is there, she is now alone and is struggling to regain her balance in life. Roxanne is valiantly fighting the battle, but realizes that she needs a support system.
Roxanne’s family is geographically remote. However, that hasn’t stopped them from being as supportive and engaged as possible. Roxanne is also attending support group meetings, which she said were helping her work through the grieving process. She is doing her best to stay active and engaged in her community.
Hurt never goes away but we do learn to move on. We can take a lesson from this lady and try to model the things that she has done right.
Living to Honor The Dream
- Even though her husband had to go to a nursing home, Roxanne served continually as a very effective advocate for him. She took many actions to enhance the quality of his care while he was in this facility.
- Roxanne continued to visit regularly, even when she could not be in her husband’s room. She determined to do everything possible to be there for him. Her efforts and her presence helped to ensure that her husband received the best possible care.
- Now that Robert has passed on, Roxanne is honoring his memory by taking actions that they had discussed doing during their second half of life. Robert is not there to do these things with her, but Roxanne is doing all of these planned fun activities in his memory. Robert would have wanted nothing less for Roxanne than for her to fully live the second half of her life!
There is nothing easy about getting on with your life after the death of a beloved spouse or parent. If you’re reading this and are coping with the death of a loved one, please let me know what you have done to cope with their death and to make the recovery process a little easier.
We wish you the best as you work to live the second half of your life and honor the presence of your loved ones who have already passed on.
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