I believe one of the greatest burdens a caregiver has to carry is guilt. When I was an active caregiver, no matter how good a job I did, I always managed to beat myself up mentally and emotionally for the times I was less patient or less loving that I wanted to be. My tip for today would be this — give yourself a break.
I once read an article in which children were asked to explain what a mother was. One little boy said something like this. “A mother is someone who always comes to your room in the middle of the night when you’re sick. She might say, ‘Oh, damn!’ — but she always comes.”
Caring for an elderly parent or other loved one is one of the most demanding jobs in the world. No one can do it right all the time, but your presence and involvement are more important than your perfection. Do the best you can with what you have to offer today, and know that you are doing a great job!
First published in the Rains County Leader, Emory, Texas:
I almost missed this week’s newspaper. We have been in Louisiana all week, and I have fallen way behind in my writing. Thankfully, I can write quickly once I receive a gentle reminder that a deadline is looming.
We made the four-hour drive to West Monroe in just over three hours last Sunday when we received a call that David’s mother was in the hospital. Betty had suffered with various lung issues for several years, so when she contracted pneumonia, it was critical. The family gathered and stood vigil, at her bedside when we were allowed into the ICU, and in the waiting room or by the phone when visiting hours were over. Read the rest of this entry »
In my writing, I have sometimes called caregiver heroes–not the kind of hero that steps up in a sudden moment of crisis and performs a single amazing feat of courage. Instead, caregivers are heroes because of, as today’s quote says, the small things they do. A caregiver’s life consists of taking care of repetitive but essential needs like nutritious food, clean clothes, fresh bedding, regular medications, doctor’s appointments, companionship, reassurance, comfort, and so much more. Even the most heroic caregiver is also human, though. They get tired, bored, discouraged, irritable, angry, and sad. In spite of these feelings and others, they quietly continue to see to the needs of their loved one with heroic commitment and great love.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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Last month I wrote about the experience of my first newspaper interview. I talked by phone with Kenny Green, Community Editor for the Mesquite News, and he published a write-up of our conversation on July 31.
Last week I had another new experience–my first radio interview. After seeing the article in the Mesquite News, Shondra Tharp, Advanced Broadcast Journalism Teacher for Mesquite ISD, contacted me about an interview. I wanted the full experience instead of a watered down telephone version, so David and I made the 150-mile round trip to the KEOM studio. Read the rest of this entry »