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Posted: November 26, 2008

Spousal Caregiving

My Thanksgiving Prayer

Bill Andrew

 On this Thanksgiving Day, I am reflecting on the many blessings that God had granted to my wife, Carol, and I during our 57 years together as husband and wife.  As many readers of this column know, Carol went to her heavenly reward this past June.  After having been on the "spousal family caregiver journey" for almost 14 years, I am now on the "bereavement journey" as I try to come to grips with the loss of Carol in my daily life. 

The spousal caregiving journey was a long and lonely journey which was difficult, but at the same time rewarding.  In fact, I consider those 14 years as the best years of my married life.  Now that I am on the bereavement journey, I face the many difficulties that will be encountered as I am challenged by my grieving and mourning.  Those, too, will become the best years of my post-married life, as I reflect on the many happy memories that I have of those 57 years with Carol. 

Let me count some of the many blessings that I am thankful for . . . 

  • I am thankful for the happy coincidence almost 60 years ago when Carol and I met at a dance -- and "we danced all night!"
  • I am thankful for the 57 years of being married to the "love of my life!"
  • I am thankful that God planned for Carol and I to meet at that dance and for the many happy years that we had together.
  • I am thankful for the birth of two fine sons, who have each demonstrated their love for family and for each other.
  • I am thankful for two daughters-in-law, who have, despite their own trials and tribulations, demonstrated their love for Carol.
  • I am thankful for our one and only grandson who, despite the challenges of growing up in these troubled days, has demonstrated his love of family.
  • I am thankful for Carol's support of me during our many years together -- despite the many difficulties that we both encountered.
  • I am thankful for having had the opportunity to be Carol's 24/7 family caregiver during that 14-year journey with Alzheimer's disease -- indeed, those were the "best years of my married life!"
  • I am thankful for the many lessons that I learned during that journey that helped Carol and I through some very difficult times.
  • I am thankful for being able to share "our story" with others in our community who were, or are, on a similar journey so that our "lessons learned" would help them to walk the same journey more easily.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to write columns, such as this, in order to share that story to a broader audience.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to lead an Alzheimer's Support Group for more than seven years to also share that story and to provide support to others on a similar journey.
  • I am thankful for the opportunity to support other family caregivers as the chairman of Polk County (Florida) Family Caregivers, Inc.
  • I am thankful for my family and friends who have provided me with moral support during a long, lonely, and difficult "journey of faith."
  • I am thankful for the many happy memories that I have of Carol as we traveled this "journey of life" here on earth.
  • I am thankful for my faith -- a faith that has provided me with the daily spiritual support that I needed to provide quality care, with patience, for Carol during those 14 years. 
  • I am thankful to God for having given me the opportunity to love and take care of Carol during these 57 years, especially these last 14 years.  May she rest in peace with the Lord.
  • Amen. 

During this Thanksgiving holiday, I hope that you, too, have much to be thankful for.  Happy Thanksgiving! 

Please e-mail me at ASKBill@caregivershome.com with your comments and/or reactions.  I will include them in a future column with your permission.  Please provide your full name and address.  In the column, I will only use your first name and the initial of your last name as well as your city and state.  Thank you. 

WORDS TO CARE BY . . . 

"…give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,

for His mercy endures forever." 

2 Chronicles 5:13


Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

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