Whether you are retired, still working, raising a family, or eagerly on your way to doing something else with your life, caregiving will eventually come to sit at your front door step. Whether you are rich, poor, healthy, struggling or just ordinary – caregiving will find you. Whether you are a doctor, a museum CEO, a banker, a postal worker or a grocery clerk – caregiving will bite into your time and your income. Even if you are only 25 years old and jeer at the thought of dealing with “old people,” rethink that! Caregiving has no special exemptions for income, gender, social status, education, age or culture. It just is!
Almost everyone I know at my stage of life is dealing with caregiving issues. I was a caregiver, and I’ve written about my experiences. It was an intensely defining point of my life and you can capture that same defining beauty, with a little help from others who are going through the same thing. Catch Your Breath is my heart’s story told through tender, raw vignettes that I hope will give a dose of hope to you and others.
You can learn the lessons that I learned. You can journal; you can embrace bold honesty; you can scream out your anger; you can revisit old issues in relationships; you can become someone without bounds by just doing the right things in your caregiving. On the other hand, you can also become angry, bitter, hateful, resentful and minimalize the rest of your life.
Please don’t, because you will so regret it later and there will be no step back in time to remedy your mistakes. You will be left with a broken heart and mounds of regret. Just to be clear, there is no perfect caregiver. If you have a good heart, you can caregive. If you have a hardened heart, you will struggle. If you’re willing to listen and learn, you can grow.
If you caregive, I’d love to hear your story and comments which will be posted below. (These are public, just so you know.) Also, just so you know, I’m not a doctor or an expert on anything. I’m just a regular person who spent eight months caring for my sweet mother before she died of leukemia. What I did in my caregiving was, for the most part, intuitive and done out of great love for her. Because of that, I made some glaring mistakes but I hit some home runs, too! I have only those lessons learned to go by, but they were poignant and changed me forever.
This is not a question and answer site. It is not a disease encyclopedia reference. It is not a free counseling session. It is a safe place to write out your heart and I hope you will.