Close up of a closed eye with a musical note inside a tear.

Caregiver Perspective: Unexpected Sadness

I got hit by feelings of sadness unexpectedly today. Keeping my self out of my husband's sight at all times, I had to work really hard to hide the fact I was very close to crying. Usually, I guard my emotions well, and rarely break down. However, I have one weakness that I can't seem to guard against: music.

Fell in love with his singing

Lynn had the most beautiful tenor voice you would ever want to hear before his MS progressed this far. It was his singing that sealed the deal for me in deciding to take the chance on marrying him and bringing our two families together. I had been burned badly in my first marriage and was very hesitant to remarry. Lynn was just as reluctant as I was as far as setting a date, but he was very romantic. Me on the other hand - I wouldn't let my guard down in order to give him my heart either.

Afraid of being hurt a second time, I kept up an emotional barrier until he wrote a song that he sang to me as part of his marriage proposal. I love his voice and to hear him sing as he plays his guitar or drums just melts my heart.

Music was a significant part of life prior to MS

One of the ways we bonded as a couple was to participate in church activities together. We both were part of the adult choir, handbells, dinner theater, and Sunday school. Plus, Lynn played guitar and drums for the praise band while I helped with the drama team. All of these activities gradually stopped as his MS became worse.

One of his last solo’s at church was him singing, “I Can Only Imagine.” It was the last time he accompanied himself during a performance. Everyone at church knew he was struggling with MS and had already given up his role in the praise band. As he finished his solo, he received a standing ovation, and several members were openly crying. Many still talk about how poignant his last performance was both from the standpoint of how well he performed and the appropriateness of the song's message.

MS losses

Lynn’s voice represents to me so much of who he is; it illustrates his vibrant personality and vibrancy. He used to be the lead singer in several bands in his twenties, and today, as I was giving him his morning care, we listened to several ‘70s songs he used to sing with the band. Suddenly, it hit me in the gut. I could hear him singing those songs, his voice so strong and energetic. He still sings regularly to exercise his diaphragm, but he doesn't have the strength to bellow out a strong vocal. The loss of that ability just shot through me, and I wanted to sit down and have a good cry.

Blinking back the tears

Lynn's back was to me, so he could not see that I had teared up. I kept blinking until my eyes cleared. He never knew I had become upset. It took me a while before the feelings left, so I had to keep chattering about nonsense for a while to keep the conversation on a light topic. The melancholy is still there to some degree.

Grieving the loss

I've accepted the fact that he has lost most of what he can do, and I know Lynn can still sing though not as strong as he once did, but I still grieve the loss of what once was and the memories of what that voice meant to me. It's a symbol for me of all the losses we have had to accept…and it hurts.

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