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Posted: February 10, 2005

Spousal Caregiving

I?ll Be Loving You, Always -- On Valentine?s Too!

Bill Andrew

On this Valentine?s Day 2005, I thought that it would be appropriate to share some of my thoughts about my love for my wife, Carol. As you know, Carol has late-stage Alzheimer?s disease and I am her 24/7 caregiver. While she has limited response capability, she does respond to music. On this Valentine?s Day, my thoughts turned to the old standby love song ?I?ll Be Loving You, Always!? to which Carol and I had danced many times. Valentine?s Day is a day dedicated to express your love, especially to your loved one, and to celebrate the true spirit of love. This song does that for me and, hopefully, for you as well ? always.

The words are very appropriate for all spousal caregivers ? especially those of us approaching the end stages of our spouse?s illness. Sing along with me:

I?ll be loving you, always
With a love that?s true, always.
When the things you?ve planned,
Need a helping hand,
I will understand, always,
Always?

Days may not be fair, always,
That?s when I?ll be there, always.
Not for just an hour,
Not for just a day,
Not for just a year,
But always.

Don?t those words just warm the ?cockles? of your heart ? they do mine. I think about the words and their meaning to Carol and me. For example:

  • ?When the things you?ve planned, need a helping hand? accurately describes the relationship between the loved one and their spousal caregiver.
  • ?Days may not be fair, that?s when I?ll be there? describes the situation that we spousal caregivers and our spouses live in each and every day.
  • ?Not for just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but always? puts everything into perspective since this is a total commitment to our spouses ? ?til death do us part.?

Irving Berlin wrote ?I?ll Be Loving You, Always!? in 1925 and it was first recorded by Josephine Baker in 1926. Frank Sinatra recorded the song in 1942, the year the song became the theme music for the film ?Pride of the Yankees,? the story about Lou Gehrig. The movie, which starred Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan, was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Love is the greatest gift one person can give to another. As spousal caregivers, the greatest gift we can give to our spouse is our love ? everything that we do for our spouse is done with great love ? always. Because we have great love for our spouse, we have great capacity to give. And because we have great capacity to give, we have great love for our spouse. Thus, ?loving is giving and giving is loving.? (Refer to my December 16, 2004, column for further thoughts on this subject.)

Paul?s first letter to the Corinthians provides us with the best-known definition of love ? remember your wedding service? ?Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, it is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails?? (First Corinthians 13:4-8). The above is reciprocal between husband and wife.

Paul also says in Ephesians 5:31, ?For this reason, a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.?

I don?t know about you, but I carry these words in my heart. As the spousal caregiver for my wife, I am committed to seeing my caregiving role through to the very end ? ?til death do us part.?

On this Valentine?s Day, as I do every day, I declare my love for my wife, Carol ? ALWAYS! Valentine?s Day is also the day for you to declare your love for your loved one ? your spouse. Please do it now if you haven?t already done so. May God bless you and your spouse?ALWAYS!

WORD TO CARE BY?

??but the greatest of these is love.?

(1 Corinthians 13:13)


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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Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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