I have been caring for my spouse for the past several years, with the past few years being the most intense. I have missed two of my grandson’s birthdays and have yet to see my son’s new home. I want to go in October for a weekend for my grandson’s birthday. My spouse is encouraging me and told me to make reservations and, even if he’s in the hospital, to go. He doesn’t want me to keep postponing and canceling the occasional trip I take to see my son and his family or other family members.

I would cancel my trip if something major happened before I was scheduled to leave. But what if he just has yet another UTI, which would just require IVs? Do I cancel or go?

I guess I can’t imagine going in any event, even with daily help in place who would take care of him. Am I getting too reclusive/paranoid? Would you go?




Dear Conflicted,

Your spouse loves you and wants you to have a full life. I think he might be considering how sad he would feel missing all these great things in your children and grandchildren’s lives out of feeling obligated to be a caregiver. 

Everything in life is unpredictable. Surely you cannot know what tomorrow brings. You can plan and have your resources in place, but you must enjoy each day because we just don’t know. Put yourself in your husband’s shoes and imagine how he would feel if, after giving up all these wonderful family experiences, you got sick because you were caring for him and could no longer travel? Do you want to put that burden on him? 

He has coverage. He has the personnel, tools and medicines to keep him as healthy as possible considering circumstances. You are doing your job. By living a full life and bringing back news you will help him feel like he is still part of the family and not keeping you from it. 

Imagine his face when you are with your kids and grandkids and you call in on FaceTime or Zoom and you can share time that way? Imagine the sparkle in his eyes when you come back to him full of vigor with stories and photos to share together. How much less will your caregiving burden feel if you can share great joyous events with your husband instead of sitting by his bedside, waiting? Does he want you sitting bored and worried waiting for him to get sick or would he love for you to be full of life to keep him motivated to be as healthy as possible? 

Put your plans in place for his caregiving while you’re gone and go enjoy your family and know that this is the healthiest thing you can do for both of you.