Growing Spiritually Through Adversity (Part 4 of 6)

by | Oct 12, 2022

No matter what adversities we encounter, we can always grow spiritually. My spouse Julie was diagnosed at age 57 with Alzheimer’s. She has lived in memory care for the past 7 years. She is now in hospice. This is one of six blogs about what Julie needed from me as her caregiver and how her needs shaped my spiritual growth.

Part 4: Julie needed to know she could trust me to make choices for both of us when she could no longer participate.

Julie developed seizures, sometimes twice a day. She was doing things that seemed dangerous. I had reached the limit of my capacity as a caregiver, and felt it might be time to move her into memory care. I had spent the previous year looking at different facilities. She chose not to participate in the search. She knew that placement was inevitable, but she didn’t know when.

I had volunteered at a group home that I thought might be the best choice and ultimately made that commitment. This was the hardest decision that I have ever had to make. Some of the relatives did not agree that it was yet time to do this.

The move did not go well. Julie accused the staff of stealing money. She tried to jump out of a second floor window. She thought the staff worked for her and gave one of them a raise and fired another.  A consulting therapist explained that Julie had had a psychotic break. She eventually adjusted.  I wondered whether I had made the right decision.

Eventually, Julie needed a higher level of care. Moving her into long term memory care seemed the wisest option.  I had heard horror stories about the difficulty of moving someone in mid-stages of memory loss to accommodate new surroundings.

Through these difficult choices, I learned to trust my inner voice, even when others around me disagreed. I wanted to make choices from the right place, beyond my ego, avoiding choices driven by fear, anger, my need for control, to be liked, or for my financial security.