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Sunday, July 26, 2015

What experience qualifies as a setback? July 26, 2015

I've been doing a lot of walking in the city this past week. The weather has been glorius and my                    thoughts have been inward. I am not much interested in my surroundings yet. I came across this sign in a store window and I took this photo. 
Perhaps my husband's death is one of these setbacks that I will be fine if I learn how to "handle " it. As a caregiver for my husband who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease nine years ago, I thought I had done my mourning. The terrible wrentching grief experience his dying evoked in me, I understood and I feel that is ebbing, slowly. I still tear up on occasion. At times it is totally unexpected.
Many of my reactions this week are completely surprising to me. I think about my husband so often now, not as he was when he was ill, but before. I want to share with him how our neighborhood here in Manhattan has changed. My first thought when reading a menu is what my spouse would have ordered and enjoyed.
But this is not a "setback." A setback occurs when the progress of something is interrupted, a roadblock is put in our path and we need to figure out how to get around it.
It is not a "crossroads" either. A crossroads exisits when there are choices and we are choosing one and letting another choice go. My husband's death was not unexpeced. We only didn't know precisely when it would occur. Alzheimer's disease is chronic, but no one ever recovers from it.
So my discomfort is about me. I am not unlike the young mother who cries when her child gets on the schoolbus for the first time. My feelings are similar to those experienced by folks who return to civilian life from a war zone. A very important, scary all-consuming part of my life is over and I don't know what is next.

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