Yesterday I reviewed Pamela Thorson’s new book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver. Today, we’ll hear from Pam herself as she answers some of my questions.
1. Pam, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m originally from the South, but I’ve lived most of my life in Idaho. I’ve been married to the love of my life for nearly forty-three years. We built a log home together and raised five children. I’m grandma to two beautiful granddaughters.
When our middle son was injured in 1997 in a fall, I became a full-time caregiver. In 2011, I became licensed as a practical nurse. In 2008, I self-published my first book, Song in the Night, which is the story of our son’s fight for life after his spinal cord injury. In March of this year, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas released my second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver.
2. How did you meet Jesus and accept Him into your life, and how has that made a difference in your journey as a caregiver?
We moved a lot when I was young, and I was a lost and lonely child. This followed me into young adulthood. I began to search for God, read the entire Bible through, and started attending a little Baptist church.
I remember the exact moment I understood the gospel for the first time: I was rocking my firstborn son to sleep and reading World Aflame by Billy Graham. I later went forward in church and publicly accepted Christ as my Savior.
My faith has made all the difference for me as I have cared for my son. I would never have made it without the strength and daily provision of Christ. Nor would I have found such joy in the journey.
3. One of the stages of grief is anger. Have you experienced this in your caregiving journey, and if so, how have you dealt with it?
Not long after Kevin’s injury, I had to go to my doctor for a check-up. He asked me if I had experienced any mood swings. I told him, “My son is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury. I have experienced every emotion known to man.”
The most prominent emotion I have dealt with is sorrow. But I have had anger, too, at times. I dealt with it by looking for the source of the anger and working to resolve the issues that brought it to the surface. I had to give a lot of grace to myself and others as we worked through the first days, months, and years.
4. In my caregiver support group, our first rule was that you must put your own oxygen mask on first. What do you do to take care of yourself?
That’s a great rule. Since Kevin needs round-the-clock care, and we can’t afford to hire a nurse for respite, I’ve learned implement a couple of strategies:
*I employ the medical principle of triage to our situation. Triage was first used by the French military to allocate scarce resources to the wounded in battle. On the battlefield, the injured were sorted into three groups: those beyond help; those who would survive without assistance; and those who would only survive with immediate care. I regularly sort out my priorities for the most efficient use of my time and energy. My goal is to concentrate on the important things and not worry about those things I can’t change.
*I try not to waste my tears. Emotional baggage uses up a lot of energy and eats up our souls. I save my tears for the truly important moments in life.
*As a family, we share the duties and give each other respite when possible. Sometimes that’s just an evening of dinner at a restaurant for my husband and me, or even a cup of tea on the deck for a few moments. Just a short walk can be enough to recharge me.
Pam, thank you for sharing your heart with us. Tomorrow I’ll share your answers to my last four questions:
5. What is the most difficult aspect of your caregiving journey?
6. Pulling questions from your chapter on burnout, what daily stresses push you close to the edge, and what strategies do you employ to keep yourself sane on really bad days?
7. If you could give only one piece of advice to other caregivers, what would it be?
8. What message do you hope readers will take away from your book?
About the author:
Pam Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, speaker, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. Her newest book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver (Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas), pulls back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Pam resides with her family in the Northwest. Visit her on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
No place is so dark, no shadow so deep, that God can’t find us.
Does the suffering you witness or experience seem pointless? Do you feel like your problems are endless? Do you wonder if God cares about you?
Caregivers live in the daily shadows of death, countless duties, and shattered dreams. But they don’t have to exist in the shadows of their faith.
Nurse and veteran caregiver Pam Thorson offers weary families hope and insights gained from her own struggles. Out from the Shadows is a collection of thirty-one stories that pull back the veil on the unique joys and challenges of caregiving. Each devotion draws from the author s own experiences to reveal a fresh understanding of Jesus call upon our lives as we care for others.
I heartily recommend this book for anyone and everyone who deals with disability in the family! – Joni Eareckson Tada
Book Link & Info:
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas