In the beginning, Sheila’s lung cancer will seem like a nightmare you can’t escape. You’ll be in denial that this could possibly be happening…to her, or to you. And you’ll feel the guilt; how can you even be thinking of yourself, when Sheila is carrying the heavier burden?
There will be the sting of helplessness that, because of finances, work, or other obligations, you can’t just jet around the country seeking the best and brightest to treat your loved one. You’ll be haunted by the thought that perhaps, because of your ineptitude, Sheila perished.
Caring for someone in inconsolable pain will reveal a lot about the kind of person you are. And even if you started out as Caregiver of the Year, the sustained stress and overwhelming sadness of the situation will eventually get to you, physically and mentally.
Carve out time for self-care. Walk the beach, read a book, or go for a hike.
Finally, contrary to the supposed wisdom of those who haven’t gone through this nightmare, you won’t get over losing Sheila.
Go to grief counseling and work to help others. But know, ultimately, you’ll struggle to accept a lot of what has transpired.