As I watch all the holiday hustle and bustle going on around me, I can recall a time when it didn’t mean so much for me. The holiday itself hardly caught my attention, neither the hustle nor the bustle moved me. Such is the case with care, either I was working with families in varying levels of pain or I myself was too exhausted with care in my own home.
Sitting here my rather odd wish list for family caregivers may resonate with no one else, except those who have been in my shoes and that’s okay.
I wish you a day with no cliché’s. Those well meaning string of words meant to uplift and inspire that burn and sting instead. Not because they don’t hold truth, but because from day one they’ve been tossed your way as an end all solution. One or two occasionally fine. Instead, hundreds seem to come no one knows what to say to a family caregiver and their situation so they resort to placating with someone else’s words. That rarely comfort.
I wish you a moment of true respite. I’d like to say a day of Respite, but I know all too well that too is a pipe dream. There are 24hrs. in a day, even if you spend all daylight hours away…what’s going on with your loved one never leaves your mind. I wish you the kind of respite that makes time disappear, the kind that fills your soul, the kind that allows you just for a moment to breathe again. And when it ends, my hope is your feel refreshed, rested and ready, to do it all over again.
I wish you eight hours of sleep. I know I know, what is that?? I hear it’s that magical time where our bodies both heal and restore themselves. I’ve never been much of a sleeper, caring took my limited patterns and minimized it down to four a night if I was lucky. I wish you the moments of before when head hit the pillow with no racing thoughts of what type of night or day is looming for you.
I wish you a day with no fear. That waiting for the other shoe to drop feeling you’ve grown accustomed to, it’s called anticipatory anxiety & yes even grief. It robs you of your health, your peace of mind and has no purpose. Fear of the unknown, fear of the future, fear because you have learned that with life and death situations consistently to face…fear is real. It’s palpable, it’s choking and clouds so much. I wish you deep breaths and the lightness that comes when fear is not present.
I wish you a day with no feelings of guilt. Intellectually we know guilt serves no purpose in the world of caregiving. Yet here you are wondering if you are doing enough, have you done your best and is there any way you could possibly do more. So push and plow ahead you do with a beast on your back that won’t let up. What I can say is this, since you can’t and won’t trust your own voice, trust mine. You have and are doing ENOUGH…you are and have DONE YOUR BEST. Be well.
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