Time to Think

time to think

“I need time to think,” I would say to my husband. He didn’t quite understand. But, I fought for some time to step away from my current life. This always helped me look more objectively at my situation. I needed to keep myself from drowning, mentally. Your brain cannot focus only on your caregiving 24 hours a day, seven days a week, without something snapping. It needs to recharge and rejuvenate. It needs diversion and escape. In the last couple of years of his life, when I had sold my business and was nearly cut off from the outside world, I needed it most. He was blind and nearly deaf besides being in the late stages of congestive heart failure and unable to walk. No one knew how to take care of him like I did. But, there were some who could manage for a short time.

For a few hours, three days a week, whether he understood and agreed or not, I was able to manage some time. There are many ways this can happen. First, you need to understand that it’s a must. You might not even express it in words, like I did. You’ll know you are unhappy, or frustrated frequently. You might be angry and find yourself apologizing for your behavior often. If it sounds like a great idea to have some time to think, it may be more necessary than you recognize.

I realize now, that over the years, I had made friends with very caring, giving people without knowing how grateful I would one day be for knowing them. I speak about them in my-upcoming book at length. Here I want to give you ideas that will help while you’re creating your own “time to think.”

My husband’s grandson (I claim him as my grandson now) came every Sunday for years to cook with his grandfather. Even when my husband couldn’t cook anymore, they still shared the time together, first with Ty doing all the cooking and eventually, with just sitting together and talking. It was wonderful for their relationship and generous toward me. I had five hours every Sunday to do a little shopping, maybe browse the bookstore and have a meal out, being waited on at a restaurant. What a treat!

During the years when it was possible, our next door neighbor, Bob, a very kind man, would take my husband and two other gentlemen from the neighborhood to lunch, wheelchair and all. That started as a way for all of them to improve their days.

I have a friend, Eva, who came to the house two mornings a week for three to four hours, did mostly housekeeping at first, which became less over the three and a half years of serious illness. This time, on weekdays, allowed me at first to continue seeing a few clients a week in my office. Later I used the time to see a doctor myself, or go to a market or drug store. Sometimes I could meet a friend for coffee!

Neighbors and friends would drop in for a visit and that was always nice for some diversion for both of us. And, of course, there were times when I called someone in a pinch for help, but, here I’m talking about organized time for yourself that you can count on consistently.

If you’re not inclined to ask for what you need, maybe a family member that you can discuss things with could send a note to friends and family, suggesting some things that would help you and see if there are any volunteers. People just don’t know how to help. If they knew that you needed two mornings a week, two people could come by for two hours each. But, they don’t know if you don’t tell them.

“Professional” advice will tell you to arrange “respite” care for yourself. Many insurance companies pay for two weeks of respite care a year. There was no way I was ever going to be away from my husband for two weeks. Neither of us would have agreed to that. But, if it works in your case, it would be a good idea. You still need time to yourself on a regular basis several times a week, however.

If you must hire people to come in, I hope you will make it a financial priority. Time to think is not selfish, or indulgent. It’s as important for your loved one as it is for you. If you’re not in good health and are mentally unstable, how can you take the best care of the person in your charge? Your lives are intertwined in this dance and your ability to oversee; to observe from a distance and act on what needs attention, will determine how much self-respect you have when all is said and done. Please arrange for “Time to Think.”

Hugs,

 

 

P.S. You may think that you’ve read this post before and that’s because it’s one of the first to appear on my blog. Over the next few weeks, as we move through the winter months, I will be revisiting other posts that I hope will bring you comfort and insight during this

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Your Magic

magic

Your magic, have you found it? Do you know what it is? Do you know you have magic inside you? We all do. It’s a special knowing. It’s there alright. Waiting for the right moment for you to feel that tiny little thrill when you recognize it. It’s in a place where no one else goes, ever. There’s a kind of light that switches on inside you. The light is your essence beginning to illuminate. Do you know that little thrill?

If you haven’t found it yet, it’s because it’s in the development stage. It’s manifesting itself through the life you’ve chosen to live so far. It’s waiting for all your ducks to be in a row. What you’ve lived so far has been necessary to get you there. It’s OK if things have been difficult. They were meant to be that way, to prepare you for your magic. Caregivers are lucky, they can see that they’re in a kind of holding place. They are taking care of someone because they chose to do that as a path to their magic; the magic they can experience here, on earth.

It’s beautiful when it unfolds before our consciousness. There’s no regret for not having found it at a younger age. We know that it took the lifetime we’ve already lived, with all it’s ups and downs, happiness and sadness, to get us to the sweet place of knowing.

You can prepare for your magic’s arrival. You can accept your current situation with grace. You can go about your daily tasks nurturing your essence, by taking care of yourself physically and emotionally, to the best of your ability. If you’re reading this blog, it’s because you desire more for yourself and you’re getting closer to your magic.

If you know your magic and are not moving forward with it, there’s a reason for that. Your essence needs a little more nurturing. Be patient and know that grace and creativity will get you to the place where you’re loving your life. Where you feel fulfilled and want to share your happiness through your magic.

In my next blog, I’m going to talk about “time to think.” It’s a very important part of nurturing your essence and bringing your magic out into the open. Until then, be a little creative, do something nice for yourself. Feeling a little pleasure brings more pleasure to you.

I wish you MAGIC!

 

 

 
P.S. You may think that you’ve read this post before and that’s because it’s one of the first to appear on my blog. Over the next few weeks, as we move through the autumn and winter months, I will be revisiting other posts that I hope will bring you comfort and insight during this time.

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Trust After

faith

A phrase has stuck with me for the last few days- “Sometimes we have to take a leap of faith and trust after.” Learning to trust our basic instincts, I believe, has been conditioned out of many of us. I struggle everyday to pay attention to the thoughts that pop into my head, and act on many of them. This is new for me, and maybe for many caregivers. We’re often the cautious one in the family. We listen to our head and not our hearts so much. We’re so busy with what we think is the most important of things to get done, that we leave filling the “vase of our soul” till last. And, surprise, it’s often left empty, again. Maybe tomorrow you’ll get to it. Metaphorically, our flowers whither and, eventually, die. Our health then suffers and depression often sets in. If, instead, we listen to our heart (our essence, really) as well as our head, it will tell us what we need to fulfill ourselves and how to best take care of the people we love.

If you look at your caregiving as a gift to another person, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice. You will know that while you are giving you are building a better self. This is not selfish or self centered. Because of a shift in your outlook, suddenly life is better for everyone around you. How could that be wrong? “It’s better to give than to receive.” We all know this phrase and we know it feels good to give. But, what if “it’s better” means better for your health, for your happiness, for accomplishing the mission that’s yours only in this life? “It’s better” because it brings joy to you and gives the person in your charge, the one who’s in this dance with you, what they need to fulfill their destiny. There’s growth for you both here, really great growth. If you can go about your caregiving with creativity and grace, then, I would say, you’ll come away from it with peace. With no regrets. And that’s lovely!

There’s a wonderful movie that I highly recommend: ENCHANTED APRIL. I watched it on Netflix recently. It has caused me to notice “lovely” when I see it and want more of it in my life.

So…what does a leap of faith look like? You start by stepping away from yourself as you go about your day. Quietly and mentally observe yourself, as if you were watching a movie. Would you admire that person? Would you want to be like that person if you were in their shoes? Can you see where there might be room for improvement? How could the main character go through their days with more grace and creativity? What would help them improve their situation?

Take the leap first, start by spoiling yourself a little. Be creative, think about where the opportunity lies for you to steal a few minutes for yourself. It might be when your loved one is napping. Or, you might plan to take half the time you usually take for a certain task so you can squeeze in a half hour of reading or watching a program you’ve recorded. You might take 15 minutes to prepare a special snack for yourself, one that you’ve specifically planned for while doing your usual shopping. Exercise. Wherever your mind takes you when you ask yourself, “what would I do for myself if I had the time?” MAKE that happen like you make everything else that you think is important happen. I promise, do something for yourself everyday and it will lighten your heart and your load. You will walk with more grace in your step, and be happier for it. You will feel more powerful. That power will give you more strength. You will see the big picture and continue to observe yourself from afar. You will know that you’ve elevated yourself to a new level in life. You’ll be wiser and not need to dwell on the problems. You’ll just handle them as they come, one at a time because you know you have all the tools (ideas) you need. Creativity and grace.

This gives you the “Trust After.” Baby steps were easy to create when you looked at yourself from a distance.

You trust yourself. Lovely!

 

 

 
P.S. You may think that you’ve read this post before and that’s because it’s one of the first to appear on my blog. Over the next few weeks, as we move through the autumn and winter months, I will be revisiting other posts that I hope will bring you comfort and insight during this time.

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Do you recognize your Courage?

courage

If the task you’re performing today is one that’s tough and almost unbearable, do you know that in the future you’re going to be very proud of yourself? You’re going to look back, when your mind is free to reflect and your body has healed from the stress and physical strain, and say to yourself, “Did I really do all that?” “Did I really get up every day and by-the-seat-of-my-pants figure out how to take care of every physical and emotional need of another human being, in some cases for years?” “Where did I get the courage, the fortitude?” I say, you were born to it. You’ve been that way all your life. That’s why you’re the one who finds yourself in this position. That’s why, in the grand design of the Universe, your loved one found you, why you found each other. There’s tremendous growth in it for each of you.

Last night I was watching an episode of DOC MARTIN. A fabulous series, if you don’t know it. Louisa’s friend has a back injury and has fallen on the kitchen floor, on top of a broken glass bottle that jammed into her back. She’s bleeding and unconscious. Martin performs one procedure after another, failing at the first three to bring the woman conscious and suddenly, on the fourth attempt, her body jumps into consciousness. The ambulance arrives just then and the trauma is past. Louisa looks at Martin, who she’s fallen in love with, and says, “You’re a remarkable man.” This character, Martin, is a remarkable person. He does what he believes is the right thing to do, at all times, no matter who he insults with his lack of a bedside manner. He does what he knows he must do because he can’t be any other way.

I speak with Caregivers all the time who are remarkable people doing what they know they must do. They perform tasks they never expected to perform. Usually, trained doctors and nurses, people who anticipated that they would be doing the unspeakable, do these tasks. Most people look away and come back into a room when the tough to do stuff is over. Caregivers figure out how to do it and get the job done.

I’m impressed with the intelligence I see in Caregivers; they’re smart people. They’re the decision makers of the world. They’re often dealing with life and death. There’s a reserve about most of them, they often change the subject when conversation leads to feelings. Sometimes it’s a defense to mask the emotion they’re feeling. Some things are just too private to talk about.

Intelligent, capable people are not likely to tell anyone what they need. They confront their fears and live with the decisions they make. They’re not needy people. They test their courage every day and in doing that they find themselves. I believe that the life we have each chosen for ourselves is not so mysterious. If I’m a Caregiver in this life, there’s a reason. I accept that. It, also, means that I’ve been born with all I need to perform the task.

By accepting the life in which you’ve found yourself today with courage and grace, you will come away from it with pride and a sense of victory. I’m reminded of a native war dance. I want to chant and dance to a rhythm that fits my emotions. How long has it been since you’ve danced? Could you fit it into your daily exercise routine? Courage!

 

 

 

P.S. You may think that you’ve read this post before and that’s because it’s one of the first to appear on my blog. Over the next few weeks, as we move through the autumn and winter months, I will be revisiting other posts that I hope will bring you comfort and insight during this time.

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