I was a caregiver for ten years for my husband. He had diabetes and lost much of his sight due to this disease. He had a toe amputated and eventually started on dialysis and then a brain aneurysm and heart problems. Grief was at our heels the whole time. First was a loss of physical abilities, leading to a loss of independence for him and more responsibility for me. We grieved that our dreams of retirement were banished by our constant need for doctor appointments and clinics. We worried about how our savings and retirement funds were dwindling fast. Our much-needed rest at night was interrupted with alarms from his dialysis machine called a cycler. Our life was scheduled around his medical needs. It had to be. Even a trip to visit my sister in NC became quite the project, as our nurses had to contact a dialysis facility in Raleigh in case my husband had a cloudy drain bag which meant he had an infection. We would have to work with their lab until it was gone. We had to pack all supplies and an extra two days if we had car trouble. Grief that a simple getaway took so much from us.

Grief was overwhelming all along the way leading to depression and tension in our marriage. Attitude is everything, right?

Once when my husband and I visited an Art Institute, we took a guided tour. The guide told us about how important the frame is to bring out the full beauty of the painting. Nearly as much thought and creativity are used to frame a work of art as choosing the art itself by the institute. The point is, your life together is a work of art. You know what I mean. There is an art to getting over the challenges of any marriage, but add dependence and schedules and diets you never planned on, and keeping things positive becomes an art.

The good idea is to sit down together and reframe your life together as it fits you. What changes can you make that will be fairest and best for you? Plan some good times with family or friends, even if how that looks needs to be reframed. We planned day trips to favorite places allowing time for a mid-day manual exchange to be done in the car on the way. Be creative as you create the art of living together. Life is good; find the frame that exhibits its beauty.