Chuck continued to be brave even while living in the clamp of dementia. He got up every morning, did the best he could, and didn’t complain. I wanted to be brave like him. But in my life as a caregiver, my way of being brave had to be different.
For me, being brave began with waking each morning to an empty space next to me in bed and getting up without rupturing my heart.
My brand of bravery meant walking through the front door of St. Thomas Health & Rehabilitation Center every afternoon, unsure of what challenges were waiting for me. Being brave meant continuing to love my husband despite his alarming transition from the patient man I had married to a man who sometimes acted unreasonably or incomprehensibly.
As you can guess, things didn’t always go smoothly. There were many days when I was not brave. I cried. I despaired. I wanted out. But I kept my feet moving. Being brave did not mean being unafraid. Being brave meant getting up each day in spite of being afraid. What choice did I have?