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Friday, September 9, 2016

Alone or With a New Person? Is there Life After Caregiving?September 16, 2016

Facebook reminded me it's been 36 days since I've posted a new blog. Why?

I have been entertaining and being entertained by out of town guests whom I've invited to share my time in New York.I have been reading and thinking about freedom, consideration of others and about self-protection. I have been debating in my head the relative merits of being alone.

This is not the first time I have contemplated these weighty matters and it takes time to sort things out well enough to write about them, especially while I am having fun at the same time. When I was divorced, I had three children to rear by myself. They were then 12,9 and 4 years old. The stress was enormous as I became responsible for their economic welfare as well as all the parenting their varied ages and genders required. I always take every part of my life super seriously and in addition, I wanted a boyfriend to share my adult life with me. 

I could not do eveything I wanted to do, so I concentrated on continuing my education so I could provide for my children and for myself financially. My parents helped me by attending most of the fun part of parenting, going to school plays, taking the children out to eat. My mom sewed on all the buttons and name tapes, hemmed their pants and provided a backup for me from her home several miles away from mine. But I could not include a partner in my life then.

The children grew up and went off to live their lives and I was fortunate to meet the man I could have fun with. He made me laugh, we traveled, enjoyed the good life until he developed Alzheimer's disease and I became the responsible adult once more. The stress was enormous again as I felt the weight of caring for him and for providing as much independence and dignity and fun for both of us. My firstborn son rose to the occasion and provided much needed backup for me. I succeeded in this task as well until my dear husband passed away last year, but I did not have freedom or much fun.

Now that a year has passed, I have relaxed from the stress of caregiving, of being the sole responsible adult for others. I have time to devote myself to my friends and family who wish to share time with me and to enjoy my favorite city--and the Jersey shore. But is there room in my life for another partner?

All of us whose Alzheimer diseased spouses have passed now ponder this question. What is the cost/benefit ratio to venture into a new relationship, fully aware of what the future may hold?

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