Another long day at the hospital. I’m exhausted…mentally, emotionally, and physically. It’s been almost four weeks since I’ve been home…since I’ve slept in my own bed…since I’ve kissed my husband good-night. As I sit here, I am reminded of recent conversations with caring friends. They echo the same words I’ve expressed to my sister on multiple occasions… “Please make time to take care of yourself.” I know that taking time for myself is critical. It’s like the safety talk repeated by the attendant on every flight…
If the oxygen mask falls from the compartment above you, first place the mask on yourself then assist children and the elderly.
Logically I know that taking care of myself is important. Especially since stress, poor eating habits, and lack of sleep are contributing factors for cancer. As a caregiver, I have fallen into the habit of ignoring my needs more often than not. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat in front of the computer to write a this post but ended up addressing paperwork and making calls for my Mother and Grandmother. I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I won’t be able to stay healthy and be available for them. But one thing leads to another and before I know it another day has passed.
When I do carve out time for myself, I feel guilty. Do I really need to do “X” or is it more important to be there for them? I rationalize my needs away as I think things like “I’m not confined to a hospital bed. They need me to be there to help. They can’t do these things for themselves.” Or “Maybe I should just stop in for a few minutes to check on them.” And before I know it…another day is gone with nothing on my personal plate addressed.
Tonight I chose to listen to the well-intentioned voices of friends. Tonight I take the advice I’ve so often given. Tonight I remind myself that being a good caregiver means that I must first take care of my health…mental, emotional and physical. And tonight I pause for myself. Sharing the thoughts in my head helps me to relax and relieves the stress. So tonight, I pause to write and pray.
It’s 9:45 pm. I’ve been sitting in the hospital with my Mother since noon. For the past week, my time has been split between two hospitals attending to both my Mother and Grandmother. More than enough time to reflect on what it means to be a caregiver.
Caring for another person, especially long-term, is an act of pure love and self-sacrifice. The really good ones have an inherent compassion that shines through in all they do.
My sister is good caregiver. I watch in awe as she snaps into action…anticipating and fulfilling my Mother’s every need. She seamlessly builds a rapport with everyone that enters the room. Her smile and quick wit helps to soften the seriousness of the environment. Continue Reading Caregiver Lament
Love is a unique emotion that changes over time. It is moulded by the events of life…energized by the “ups” and challenged by the “downs” of our day-to-day existence. With all of the challenges that we’ve experienced, I’m sometimes amazed that James and I have made it through to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.
A Brief History
James and I met on match.com after our first marriages ended in divorce after a combined total of 32 years. We were very cautious in seeking a partner for our second marriage. We married in 2009 after dating for two and a half years. Almost immediately challenges of blending two families engulfed us. Follow that with significant life events and you have a recipe for yet another divorce. A few of our bigger challenges include two job layoffs in the first year, two house moves, cancer patient and caregiver, car crashes, parent illness, and serious teenager drama. All-in-all, a very tough 5 years!
For our anniversary this year, James suggested that we celebrate by reliving a few experiences from the 7 1/2 years we’ve been together. Our festivities included dinner at the site of our first date, the first meal we cooked for each other, visiting our favorite date hang-outs, flowers from our wedding, revisiting the 5 Love Languages, and snuggle time. A very low-key, intimate celebration. Perfect! Continue Reading My 5th Wedding Anniversary