With much love intended, can we shine some light on the dark-side of Caregiving? Can we work through the tough stuff, for our own sake, and try to understand rather than fight and feel pain? For many, there is a dark-side of Caregiving and it keeps wonderful people, unnecessarily, in a sad place. It often leads to illness for the Caregiver. It’s the reason support groups (like: daughterhood.org) are popping up all over the country. When we’re in the depths of it, all we can think of is WHY. WHY me? WHY does it have to be so hard? WHY doesn’t someone else stand up and help? WHY am I in this position and HOW did I get here?
By the dark-side I mean when we’re exhausted, when our nerves are shot, when we’re feeling the effects of self-neglect. When we’re frustrated with government programs, doctors and insurance companies- it goes on and on- we ask ourselves, “How can I keep doing this? Isn’t my own life worth something?”
The byline of this website is: “Set the Foundation for Masterful Care for You and Your Loved Ones.” I’m here to encourage and support Caregivers, not coddle them. My mission is to help people who take care of other people become stronger, more confident, more knowledgeable and compassionate for themselves, and, consequently, for those in their charge. My hope is to help as many people as possible be grateful they’re alive, to recognize that they have a gift and to know that when they face life’s challenges head-on, they come through with more power and are stronger than ever. Your life is as important as everyone else’s. And you’re meant to have challenges like everyone else.
After 21 years of more caregiving than I ever expected in my life, I can tell you that, for me, the answer to WHY has nothing to do with things like: being an especially good person, that you always do the right thing or that you’re the only one who stood up (though all these may be true). It’s not because you love those in your charge and want them to have the best care (also, may be true). It’s not even because you’re a doomed person, life for you has always been hard and always will be, as I hear from some.
The raw truth, in my opinion, is that IT’S SOUL WORK. I KNOW this. How do I know this? I can feel it in my aging bones. I can’t prove it to you in any tangible way. I can only say that if you look deeply enough, long enough, within yourself, you may be able to know it, too, like I do. A lifetime of experience, observation, study, research and self-reflexion has confirmed for me what I never would have considered as a young woman. In our myopic society, where most believe only in what they can see with their own eyes, or what science/reason tells them, there’s been little room in the last century for something bigger. Something timeless and fantastic.
My gut tells me that we’re here on earth to express the beauty within that magnificent little baby we each were at our birth. As our DNA is revealed more and more, I hope one day science will join with the unknown secrets of life, revealing the mysteries of the Universe, completely. Until then, I can only go on faith and see the love which is at the root of all.
As we express our individual gifts to the world, some of us are here to give of ourselves more than others. It’s okay, the others have their gifts, equally important. Caregiving is the opportunity to express love under sometimes very difficult circumstances. The more difficult, the more rewarding, if we can only see it that way. I do notice we caregivers have a bit of trouble receiving sometimes. We need to allow others to give, too, in their own way.
We’re all connected on this earth. We’re connected to everything and everyone. Every plant, every wave in the ocean, every cloud and drop of rain. Every speck of dirt, every animal and every human being is connected. The earth is alive and we’re part of the way it functions. In health, we have a natural instinct to love, protect and care for other living things.
We’re Caregivers, it’s what we’re doing now. Today. We’re working out our destinies, with love and compassion. How bad is that? It’s written in our DNA, you got the Caregiver gene. Flaunt it! Adopting an attitude of accepting who you are and seeing the beauty in it can only be good for the soul and your health. Love yourself and your gift ❤️