A bride and groom standing before the altar can’t fully grasp what life changes marriage is going to bring. Being exhausted from months preparing for the perfect wedding and wedding dress, the bride is exhausted, yet happy. The groom is scared in taking this final stage of commitment.

When the groom sees his exquisite bride walking down the aisle, all fears are washed away. The bride hands over her hand in marriage and their lives begin.

Sealing their vows with a kiss, they turn around, walk down the aisle and are showered with laughter and confetti. They drive away, drunk with love and bliss. They have no idea what changes lie ahead for them in the future and how they will be forever changed. Bride and groom don’t realise that caregiving will be a very big part of their future.

 

For Better Or For Worse, Sickness And In Health

For the first few years of our marriage, our “new normal” became buying our first home and having our first child. Two years before my husband’s death, I found myself fulfilling the true meaning of “in sickness and in health.” My plate was now overflowing as I was now a caregiver, in addition to working full-time and taking care of a house and child.

Having feelings which I wasn’t accustomed to, I began to question my own integrity. After much soul-searching, this became the defining moment for me that changed me forever and realise what I needed to do in order to survive this major life event.

 

There Is Grief Before Death

When a spouse is faced with taking care of an ill spouse, lives are lived in the balance. Not knowing if their spouse will live or die from one day to the next. Looking back, I realised I grieved his death way before the day it actually happened. In my experience, I grieved for the family we would never become. For the dreams that wouldn’t be fulfilled.

The hardest part of this process was realising that although my husband was able to see our son start kindergarten, he wasn’t going to be there at the high school graduation. This is when I choose to put my own feelings on hold and be there to see my son through this process.

 

Learning To Stand Strong

Having been brought up on a farm, I learned the true meaning of hard work and not giving up. Doing chores with my grandma each morning when that rooster crowed taught me valuable life lessons that I didn’t realise at the time would carry me through later in life.

It didn’t matter if it was raining, snowing or sleeting, pigs, cows, chickens had to be fed. Hay had to be bailed. Crops had to be tended to. You didn’t give up no matter how hard it got. One didn’t complain as grandpa wouldn’t listen to it.

Grandpa wanted the work done and grandpa had that knack for giving you “the look,” which said it all. If you got “the look,” you were instantly internally scared. Your throat dried up, your voice quivered, and your hands started shaking. Grandpa didn’t have to lay a hand on you or raise his voice. You just “knew.” Grandpa had the heart of gold but didn’t have the knack for slackers. (Writing this, I just realised where I got this family trait from!)

 

My Three Humbling Lessons Learned Of Caregiving

These are the three humbling lessons I learned during caregiving that changed me forever:

  • After realising how close to death we were, I began to put things in more perspective. Listening to others complain of the little things in life set me apart.
  • Life ethics and “doing what is right” became more important to me than ever. The society we live in now is scary and people often take the easy way out. In life, in order to achieve great accomplishments, one must work hard and stand strong and be tenacious. I learned to not care what others think and began to live my life in the way I knew was best for me and my family.
  • When others saw my increased strength, sacrifice and resilience, I realised it scared them. Did our situation force them to look at themselves and realise they weren’t made of the qualities they thought they had? When I started being criticised and judged, I separated myself and learned to stand alone. I didn’t need this type of negativity in my life and learned this was their problem and not mine. I learned to move forward.

 

My New Normal

Now, my life is focused on myself. Giving up so much for so long, I am concentrating on my own goals and dreams. I still work full-time and my goal is to be blogging on a full-time income in the future as I have discovered that is where my passion lies.

Going through life transitions are tough. I know for a fact not everyone survives them mentally. Unfortunately, I was not able to save some of the close ones around me that went through their own transitions and I lost them, and it has been painful. It is my heart’s desire to help others survive their life challenges. My goal is that you were able to take away something from my story and bring it into your life to help you through your own life transition.

 

Anna is the author and creator of www.mytenaciouslife.com.

When not writing, Anna can be seen researching, reading, crafting and taking care of her house.  Anna loves to read stories of others' resilience and can be seen reading books of Eleanor Roosevelt to increase her tenacity.