The Gaping Wound

Bleeding heart flowers

My wife, who is my caree, and I were sharing the other day the gaping wounds we feel in our hearts from our lives taking a 360 degree turn  from the life we had before she became severely disabled from four back surgeries; critical illness neuropathy; and a Parkinsonian Movement Disorder.

We concluded that we need to relate to each other in new ways that heal the pain; fill the emptiness; and not let what’s happened overcome us.

She wondered if anyone else on our site is experiencing anything like this.  I said, “In all likelihood.”

So we begin our journey of learning how we can relate to one another in healthy, enriching ways in which we respect each others needs, wants, etc.  We have been  talking more openly of the myriad feeling of the issues we have faced: Me having to make the horrible choice of having her placed in a nursing home; facing the physical changes that have occurred for her psychologically/emotionally;  my still being on disability; me having to live with family; getting our house ready for foreclosure; fears about the future; and a thousand other topics.

We laughed for a moment as we talked about all the things we have been through in our lives personally and together.  We thought of writing a book called “And Then…,” a humorous look at the constant challenges we face one after another in life and how we face them.  I want to start working it with her.

On Thanksgiving,  I picked up dinner  from our favorite restaurant. A funny Thanksgiving story is that I went to put my wife’s cheesecake in the patient refrigerator/nutrition room with the combination an aide gave me, only to wind up getting locked in because the lock mechanism went south. I was locked in for an hour. I stayed calm as a cucumber. I had my cell phone on me so I could call the nursing station, thank God. I called my wife’s cell and told her how I was locked in the nutrition room. She was concerned and then we both laughed. Finally the director came with some tools and I was able to dismantle the lock from within. Cool, I thought, proud as a peacock. So that’s my funny story.

Would love to hear People’s experiences of what I will call the “gaping wound of the heart” phenomenon.

Got to go. Thanks for reading….Bob

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12 Comments on "The Gaping Wound"

Profile photo of ejourneys
Nov 28, 2012

Hi, Bob — It’s good to see you here. Bless you and your wife for this new level of sharing and intimacy in the midst of so much. My partner has suppressed her emotions for most of her life, but over the past year or so we’ve been delving into both hers and mine. I’ve been learning to share my own needs with her. For my partner, the gaping wound aspects relate to her memories of abuse and to coming to grips with her MS. Her delusions are such that I have to be careful in how I express my own emotions.

I love your Thanksgiving story — thank goodness for your cell phone!

Profile photo of Denise
Nov 28, 2012

Bob, first, I love your Thanksgiving story. Oh, my. It’s easy to laugh when you’ve already shared so many tears.

I think blame can contribute to the gaping wound. Your wife could blame you, you could blame yourself, you both can blame doctors, lifestyle choices. Once we play the blame game, there’s no end to who we can blame.

I wonder how you both have worked through blame? Or, do you feel like it’s still a process for both of you?

Glad you’re okay–we’re all glad to see you. :)

Profile photo of Jo
Nov 28, 2012


I’ve heard many describe grief in terms of a hole in their hearts, but I’ll never forget when I first heard that description… it was from my daughter describing how she felt after the death of my wife/her mother.

You’ve described well “the gaping wounds we feel in our hearts from our lives taking a 360 degree turn from the life we had before.”

Your conclusion is spot on that we “need to relate to each other in new ways that heal the pain; fill the emptiness; and not let what’s happened overcome us.”

Note to self: always take a cellphone with me when I go on cheesecake runs.