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My ideas for Blog topics come from my experiences at the moment; thoughts that have been cartwheeling around in my head; and inspirations from readers. Today was one of those days when three different readers e-mailed me on the same subject matter – the importance of developing a life for yourself, separate from your spouse and caregiving duties. I think it is essential to highlight the universality of this subject by mentioning that one reader was new to this site; another was from England; and the third was an out-of-state relative of mine. Three different people, unknown to each other, thousands of miles apart, writing on the same subject on the same day. I don’t know how much clearer the signal could have been that this would be today’s Blog topic.

Read the love stories on the left side of the website – there is no doubt that most of us have been blessed to share our lives with a partner, soul mate, emotional supporter, and lover.

But when that person we adored, depended on, and loved passionately, begins to fade away, bit by bit, we are left with overwhelming burdens of care and unrelenting loneliness. Not all of us are at that stage yet, but we see the picture emerging in the distance.

If we do not cultivate interests, friendships, and activities NOW, while we are in the caregiving stage, we will be left as empty, lonely shells –shadows of who we once were, when our beloved spouses are truly gone.

Yes, it is difficult to get out now – our spouses do not feel safe without us nearby; it is not always possible to leave them alone or find someone to stay with them, but for our own sanity and life preservation, we must find the time and support necessary to get away for at least one day a week, and participate in non-Alzheimer, non-caregiving activities with non-Alzheimer, non-caregiving friends. It is not disrespectful to, or neglectful of, our spouses to develop lives for ourselves.

One of our readers despaired that when her AD journey was over, she would have no energy and no friends. This would be a tragedy that need not happen. I believe Sandi expressed it best on the Message Boards, when she said –“ I made a conscious decision a long time ago that I would not let this disease claim two victims.”

Join Sandi in making that conscious decision for yourselves – GET A LIFE NOW -, so that in the end, you will have loving memories to look back on,  and a new, fulfilling life to look forward to.

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©Copyright 2007 Joan Gershman        

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