Losing a long term caregiver, especially one who has become a friend, isn't for the weak of heart.
There is a bond that forms, a rhythm of give and take, a miraculous dance of interdependence. Even imagining that stopping is painful. And, as it slows down in preparation for the very last steps of the dance, each party falters, tripping, landing awkwardly.
And then there is a moment when, hopefully, a new relationship forms. Perhaps occasionally the old dance of interdependence will appear, neither person missing a beat, its familiarity comforting.
But there is work to be done to nurture the friendship as the primary relationship. Hard work. Just as time consuming as when sandwiches were made, hair was brushed, and food was cut up oh so lovingly.
These memories tug at the heart even when a stronger friendship seems inevitable.
But to imagine the alternative - that the relationship never existed - or to deny its strength - is madness. That path leads to bitterness and ingratitude. It stinks of selfishness.
And yet - losing a long term caregiver can be so painful that one stares down that road a bit prior to moving on. Because saying goodbye when an aide leaves can feel as if someone has died.
Perhaps even a part of oneself. It can be hard to muster up willingness to begin with another, to start that dance of interdependence, to even put on the music.
Necessity dictates one must, at least, make a start.