This month is the birthday month of my twin brothers, Jerry, who is still with us (love you more!) and Jack, who passed away suddenly three years ago. This post is written by his widow, Kamla.
Their two youngest children were in their late teens. Jack was in his fifties, Kamla much younger. The couple everyone admired, they had a huge social circle. Kamla is a nurse. Jack was a trucker and later a crane operator. He was the youngest in our family, one of identical twins.
We all thought he was in amazing shape for his age. Then three years ago, he coughed up blood at work one day. Tests revealed an aggressive, advanced cancer. He died a month later.
May 9th was his birthday. The following (republished with permission) are passages from an email Kamla sent me recently. They are posted in honour of her love for him and his memory:
Sorry I’ve taken so long to reply! I actually was thinking a lot about your request of an “expert” nursing point of view. I honestly have to say I’m no expert.
When Jack was diagnosed I felt so far removed from being a nurse. I was so numb from my disbelief and denial that I really couldn’t function or think rationally.
Somehow all I could think about was how devastated and hurt I was. I could not even face what was happening and that denial has stayed with me for a long time. It has only been after 3 years that I actually can admit to myself that Jack is gone.
I have such a heavy sadness in my heart. I still want to believe that he will be back. I miss him so much. I felt such a profound loss that in the first year I couldn’t even face my life. I went through the motions but can barely remember that first year.
The second year I realized how I needed to be there for the kids. That at least gave me purpose.
But I still often found myself really needing to talk to Jack as I really felt that he was always the better parent and I needed his advice and help. He was such a natural person at being able to help me with decisions and putting things in to perspective.
This last year has found me finally able to talk to someone about my grief. My counsellor is wonderful. We had to start with dealing with my disbelief as it is still there.
I cannot describe how much I loved Jack. He was like part of me and now I do not feel whole. He was my best friend, my hero, my mentor and my true love.
I feel that as a caregiver I failed Jack as it just all happened too fast. My thoughts are with you and Chris and I love you both.
I feel a great empathy for Kamla. She was no failure! Life just didn’t give her time to fully be a caregiver.
One thought on “When Caregivers Feel They’ve Failed…”
kamla is a compassionate human being and one of the best amazing nurses I know. When it becomes one of our own we no longer are a nurse we are the wife sister daughter And that makes all the difference. Kamla you didn’t fail as a caregiver. You had the rug ripped up from below you and you did the best you knew how to do.