Safety and love for my ex-husband’s wife

It is heartbreaking to attempt to reduce a lifetime’s accumulation of material possessions and memories to fit into a tiny

It is heartbreaking to attempt to reduce a lifetime’s accumulation of material possessions and memories to fit into a tiny one bedroom unit. This was the most difficult part of my task as ‘Pat’ was too fragile to participate. I felt it a huge responsibility and have found that although there is gratitude for the job done in a limited period of time, already there are some regrets about things that were not included.

I am recounting this journey only to share our experience, which hopefully may assist others on the same journey. I had no idea about the responsibilities of an Enduring Power of Attorney and wonder whether I would have accepted the position had I understood the enormity of the responsibility for someone as frail as ‘Pat’. Sadly, there just wasn’t anyone else!

I have had to fill in many forms and now there is no way that I can slip under the radar – it is now mandatory to be registered to be an EPOA before you can undertake any of the services for the person you are assisting. It is reassuring in many ways but I don’t understand that the person who caused all of this grief was able to slip through the system whilst I am often treated with suspicion and a great deal of interrogation. I certainly do not have any ulterior motives and I confess to sometimes wishing that there was someone else.

‘Pat’ hated being in respite but there was no other way for me to get done what needed to be done – firstly sell her property – which thankfully sold quickly but had only a few short weeks to settle. I had plenty of advice but no offers of actual help. Still I am grateful that I had the energy to get it done. The emotional experience did drain me for various reasons. Once the settlement went through, I was able to purchase the lovely little unit she had chosen in the very special aged care facility.

There were a few bits of furniture not needed in the new unit that we were able to sell, but loads of other stuff was very hard to house. I sought a removalist able to deal with finding a home for these whilst choosing the pieces that ‘Pat’ had expressly desired for her new place. I thought I had it all organised but the day that the furniture was delivered was a disaster. It unfortunately coincided with the care assessment that had to be conducted before her admission. This was vital to assess the level of care she needed. I was anxiously looking out for the removalists and was hoping to get the furniture set up so that she could see it looking like her home. Luckily I was in the unit when the lovely young men quickly began to unload. Horror of horrors – instead of the furniture chosen for her unit, the discarded items began appearing. There had been a huge breakdown in communication. Worse still was that she managed to get to the van and see her life time pieces being put back in the van. It was a scenario I had worked so hard to avoid and one we both found distressing.

Now I must focus on the positives. ‘Pat’ is now set up in her lovely little unit with all of the care that she needs. She is still terribly frail but I am hopeful that as the nightmare of the past few years fades and she gets to meet lots of lovely people, her health will improve. Betrayal is a terrible thing and I know she feels this keenly. She also feels a huge sense of embarrassment which I hope will fade with time.

The loss of her beloved dog was devastating to her and she spoke every day about wanting to have a dog. I spoke to the manager and even though the facility accepts people who come in with a dog, it is unusual to allow a new dog to be brought in. I assured her that my granddaughter, who is studying to become a vet, was looking for the perfect dog and I knew it would make a huge difference to her rehabilitation.

On Sunday, the perfect dog was found and is now happily ensconced in his new home, acting like he has lived there the whole seven years of his life. Already I can see a difference in ‘Pat’ and I believe she still has some enjoyable time left. Now she has to keep living for her little dog.


  1. Leone O

    Thanks for finishing this chapter of the story Lyn and it is wonderful that as well as ‘Pat” the perfect dog has a good life too because of you. Definitely gold stars and elephant stamps coming your way. Now… about you helping me to reduce a lifetime’s accumulation of material possessions…….

    • Janice Kathleen Marsh

      We just downsized from a 2 storey house with 2 sitting rooms and study, sunrooms and all the other rooms we surely needed. I discovered that most of my things were just that…..things. We are very happy in our retirement complex now. Less to clean and dust and more time to relax looking at the beautiful lake we are fortunate to live next to. I used to worry about who would want the things I love when I die, now I don’t. I will give it to family now. They are just things.

  2. Aud Dickinson

    I know the feeling. Trying to downsize so I can move to something smaller and flat and sort and dispose of, books, tools, photographic equipment, etc, which my husband accumulated during his life.

  3. Kathleen Ann Hyman

    I know the feeling, with Mum now in a Nursing Home having to sort out her things and sell the house is heartbreaking.

  4. Heather Burton

    I work in a Nursing home and see the devastation these people feel about loosing their home and special possessions. So sad.

  5. Kim Hale

    Lyn, you’ve really done a wonderful thing, helping Pat through this very difficult time and move. I know it’s not why we do these things but I hope you get lots of good things in return. Can’t tell you what I wish for the ex husband.

  6. Melva Jones

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was touching and also helpful. You have done a wonderful thing for Pat…..especially her dog to give her love and companionship!

  7. Michelle MACKINNON  

    What a kind & compassionate woman you are Lyn . People like yourself make the world a better place , just by being in it . Thank you for sharing your story

  8. Linda Carley

    What an angel you are, sorry that you had to go through so much stress though. The dog will be just the best companion she could hope for. They have been rescued together.

  9. Thank you Lyn…was wondering abt the end result. Feel for you…was put in a similar p
    osition yrs ago with a dementia relative that no one else wanted to know abt. You have had to cope with a lot more responsibility than me though as Billy had nothing. Now its time for you to relax a little and look after yourself.

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