Sunday, June 5, 2011

Holes in my heart...

Jewel's recent song, There's a Hole in My Heart, struck me when I first heard her sing it. It's such a true description of the feeling you have when you lose somone you love so dearly. The first time I remember feeling that physical tug was when my grandfather on my dad's side passed away. I was about 12 years old then, and I had not experienced death that closely before. In the last few years, I've had more holes shaped in my heart, and although God gives me a peace that I could never have fathomed, the holes are very real and the pain is not diminished.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of our son's death. Andrew died of an accidental overdose after becoming highly intoxicated at a party, followed by taking a handful of methadone pills. I miss him every single day, but I am truly thankful that he is with his Lord and Savior who has healed him from the pain he had. Andrew was diagnosed as bipolar type 2 when he was 17, and we never found the right combination of medicaton to take away the pain he was trying to fix. When he turned 18, he told us he was not taking meds anymore. He didn't like the way he felt on them, and he wouldn't take them. So, he self-medicated with alcohol mostly, and ultimately with drugs. He died 5 weeks before his 21st birthday.

I was very close to my brother who was with us through all of the pain and grieving of losing our son. He was battling colon cancer at the time, and he was losing the battle. Less than a year after Andrew died, my brother passed away, and another hole was made in my heart.

With each loss, Billy's dementia was more noticeable. He still drove to Glen Rose twice weekly to feed his mom dinner. I'm so thankful he was able to continue that because it was such a sweet bonding for them. I went along a few times, and I had to fight tears each time because his love for his mom was so evident. She was the next hole in my heart as she passed away with all of us surrounding her. She was so loved by so many in the care facility, and I know Billy misses her because he speaks of her so often.

We lose part of Billy every day, and the hole in my heart is reshaped each time I notice something else he can no longer do. He wants to help with anything going on at home. I try to honor his requests, and give him a few things to do. Even very simple things are difficult. Taking out the trash is tough. Last week I asked him to get something out of the dryer. We have a front loading washer and dryer, and he didn't know which was which. At night we remove the throw pillows from our bed, and he frequently takes them off, puts them on, takes them off, and puts them back on. I usually end of taking them off, and I often get frustrated and tell him to leave the pillows alone. I must work on my patience about this.

I've searched my brain for an upbeat way to end this post, but I don't have one. I miss my son, my brother, and I really miss my husband. I hate Alzheimer's Disease.


  1. Hello, Kathy,

    I've read your blog and find that my life mirrors yours somewhat. My 58 year old husband has early on-set dementia. Your story of the trash cans and the bed pillows are very similar - I was just amazed and found myself nodding as I read. I have to constantly work on my patience and loving attitude now and it gets harder each day. A hole in my heart - a good way to describe it. Thanks for writing.

  2. Dear amt822,
    I hope you find some solace in knowing you are not alone. When we first began this uninvited and unwanted journey, I was so frustrated that every pamphlet about Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, or related issues, had pictues of elderly people on them. Young Onset has it's own set of issues that differ from late onset patients, and that is one reason for my writing. God bless you and your husband as you go through this journey. Thank you for reading and responding. Kathy

  3. Kathy,
    On FB this morning I clicked on the 30 things you love about your husband. I then discovered your wonderful blog. Missing my own daughter today, her birthday was Saturday, I found myself weeping as I read about all the holes in your heart. I then found myself laughing out loud over the bed pillow story. I'd say that was an upbeat ending. I have many unexpected holes myself and feel quite broken at times. I admire and respect your strength. You are an encouragement as well as His promise ...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

  4. Dear Kathy,
    I hate it, too! I am so very sorry for all the pain you have experienced. Know you are loved. I wish I could hug your neck. :)