GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 27

caregiving Love IS the answer Celebrating love in the midst of loss By Owen Stanley Surma In April of 1994 my wife Lezlie was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. In the months that preceded and followed her passing, I saw a face of grief previously unknown to me in my work with those impacted by Alzheimer’s and other catastrophic illness. In Alzheimer’s-type dementia, confusion, anxiety and disruptive behavior complicate the demands on caregivers. A loving spouse may become irritable in response to the patient’s forgetfulness. Caretaking feels overwhelming at times, as if this new role were expected to define the full range of life to follow. In our case, when Lezlie became ill, I felt surrounded by her cancer. I would accompany her to her medical appointments feeling that I, too, was no longer well. The uncertainty of events led to substantial stress for our entire family, similar to the stress experienced by those who are caring for loved ones with dementia. But in those final weeks, Lezlie and I had many wonderful moments. I marveled at the intensity of the love that embraced us. When Lezlie died, I found relief in writing. In recording the full measure of our love, I learned that it would not succumb to ovarian cancer. I felt her with me as I recorded the memories and beauty we had shared. When pain appears to be forever, we must know that it will yield in time. The challenge is to discover the pieces of our lives that work and to build a future that allows room to celebrate the indelible love of that very special person. G The author thanks Patricia Ann Cosimi, R.N., for her contribution to this piece. Owen Stanley Surman, M.D. , is Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the author of The Wrong Side of an Illness . I felt her with me as I recorded the memories and beauty we had shared. Ed. note: This article is abridged. For the entire article, click here. For a list of books on caregiving, click here.GRAND NOVEMBER
http://www.grandmagazine.com/article.asp?id=219 http://www.grandmagazine.com/article.asp?id=219 http://www.owenstanleysurmanmd.com http://www.amazon.com/Wrong-Side-Illness-Doctors-Story/dp/0595477526/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1255294417&sr=1-1 http://www.grandmagazine.com/article.asp?id=217

GRAND Magazine - November 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of GRAND Magazine - November 2009

GRAND Magazine - November 2009
Contents
GRAND Central
Robert Reich: Enjoying Ella
Heroes Among Us
Love IS the Answer
Heart Healthy Thanksgiving
Top 5 Tech Gifts for the G’kids
Homework Toolkit
Precious Cargo
Resources
GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Intro
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - GRAND Magazine - November 2009
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Cover2
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 3
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 4
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 5
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Contents
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 7
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 8
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 9
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 10
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 11
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 12
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - GRAND Central
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 14
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 15
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 16
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 17
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 18
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 19
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Robert Reich: Enjoying Ella
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 21
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 22
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 23
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Heroes Among Us
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 25
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Love IS the Answer
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 27
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 28
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 29
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Heart Healthy Thanksgiving
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 31
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Top 5 Tech Gifts for the G’kids
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 33
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Homework Toolkit
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 35
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Precious Cargo
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 37
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 38
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 39
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 40
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 41
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - 42
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Resources
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - GRAND Finale
GRAND Magazine - November 2009 - Cover4
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