Caregiving. It is hard, and few understand why.
It is not for the meek, the mild, the despairing.
It is not the day to day tasks, really: caring for a Loved One, managing medications, juggling doctor’s appointments, meal prep, cleaning, as well as other unending responsibilities, and all that is living.
Let us not forget our own self-care.
It is the giving. The tireless, loving, endless giving of yourself.
You have never given so much in your life. Except perhaps in parenting a child, or two.
You give until it hurts…. and then you give some more….and even still more.
You give until you are scraping underside of the bottom of your giving self, and then mutter to yourself, “I have given everything I can. Every moment. Every possession of patience. Every selfish and selfless part of me, I have given.”
Yet you give even more.
You give until it feels like you are lost amongst the caring, the sharing, the tasks, the time……. even of yourself.
You give until you become afraid there will not be any of you left. What then?
You give the little treasures you tucked far away under careful lock and a key.
You give and give and give.
You give at 3AM, when you are beyond tired, beyond consciousness, so much so that you are rambling, stumbling into walls, and putting the remote control in the freezer.
You inwardly cry inside “I have nothing left.” While you externally and calmingly exclaim, “Coming, be right there….” and yet you tenderly, enduringly, uncomplainingly give some more.
And you keep giving while warm tears swell from your kind, sparkling, caring eyes and silently down your cheeks, but only in a moment of complete solitude.
That is what makes caregiving hard. It is not the constant, consistent vigilance to an ill or disabled Loved One’s care, nor is the hectic resolve to accomplish the daily tasks, it is the giving.
Cry if you need. Rage, too. As we do, always, in a quiet and brief moment of solitude. Get away for a while, if you can, although you probably cannot or will not. Who will care (give) in my absence?
Maybe one day your Loved One will turn and express, “Thank you.” Most likely they will not be able to express all you mean to them, how much your giving has empowered, strengthen, and meant to them…. disease, dementia, and illness are cruel fickle passages stealing time, dignity, and moments away.
Keep going. Keep loving. Keep giving. Keep caring.
This is caregiving. It is not for the meek, mild, or despairing.
It is hard, and few understand why.
Danielle A. McCarthy, MA brings firsthand, real life experience to empower caregivers through emotional support & shared experiences. Danielle is the Executive Director of Vibrant CareGiving offering education & empowerment for caregivers. 970-417-5319