Appreciating Challenges Can Help Partners Form a Special Bond

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by Jaime Christmas |

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I lost my husband, Aubrey, on May 22. This period of adapting to him being gone has been somewhat challenging for me. Although I thought I had come to terms with it in the weeks following his death, grief has a knack for swinging back and hitting me in the face when I least expect it.

One habit that still catches in my throat is wanting to talk with him, tell him about exciting things that have happened, or share something I learned that I know he’d find funny. When these moments hit, I feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I am stunned and numb.

When I first experienced this, it took me some time to process my feelings. While I still carry a stinging emptiness, I snap out of it quicker now. I suppose I won’t let go of 27 years of companionship overnight.

On one hand, this may sound sad. But I also see the beauty of our long-lasting connection. As Aubrey’s caregiver, I think our relationship was especially complex. Watching a loved one undergo pain and suffering can lead to empathy and insight.

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Aubrey was diagnosed with hereditary ATTR amyloidosis in 2013. For nine years, he and I journeyed through some tough moments — moments that could’ve torn us apart. But through it all, our determination and stubbornness to live the best life we could, no matter the circumstances, helped us form an extraordinary partnership. Although this partnership has been broken by death, the bond we formed will remain.

If you are a caregiver reading this, I hope you can recognize that your connection with your loved one is unique. The road will undoubtedly be riddled with challenges and, at times, stretch you beyond what you think you can handle. However, every time you jump over a hurdle, you inadvertently construct a surface for you both to land on.

When I reflect on my nine years of caregiving and unpack the tough times, I realize that every challenge made us more resilient. The many times Aubrey was admitted to the hospital. The events we had to cancel last-minute because he became unwell. The occasions we grew frustrated with each other because we were fed up with our situation. And the moments when we felt so broken that we could not be a source of comfort for each other.

We faced too many trials to recall, but with each one, we became more vital to each other.

Author Tia Walker said, “Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.” I couldn’t agree more.

Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.


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