It was one year ago today that The Imperfect Caregiver blog appeared for the first time. Within days I started hearing from other caregivers and caregiver bloggers and with each new connection I learned more about how enormous this community is and how little the people around us know about what we do and the impact it has on our society.
As a writer I try to inform through story telling. In doing so I hope to connect with caregivers and the people around them. So often our family members don’t understand what it’s like to care for a seriously ill loved one twenty-four hours a day for a period of many months or years.
Siblings live far away and can only visit once or twice a year. Others have demanding jobs that keep them too busy to help. Families aren’t perfect, many have troubled histories filled with anger and resentment. A son, daughter, mother or father may have good reason to stay far away from someone who abused them in the past. Still someone must step up and when that someone is you your life changes dramatically. Even when the person you care for is a treasured spouse, parent or child the constant demands can become too much and the caregiver begins to fall apart.
Quotes by caregivers include:
“I haven’t had a good nights sleep in 4 days! I just want to walk away from it all, but I won’t.”
“Oh lord, I think my family might be on the verge of working as a team. Please make it true.”
“This is taking a toll on my marriage of 31 years and its breaking my heart.”
“I want my mom back. This is a nightmare.”
“I go along with her delusions, she’s upset. If I try to tell her the truth, she’s upset. Nothing is helping.”
“I’ll never understand the disease…but today I’m at peace. I pray you all are blessed with these rare moments too.”
And here’s a quote from me about one of the hardest days I had as a caregiver:
“I put my head in my hands and I cried. It wasn’t a dainty cry with gentle tears moistening my cheek. It was a hard-driving, gut wrenching, chest heaving, sloppy, ugly, sobbing cry. My nose ran and my eyes burned from the force of it and there were moments when I thought I might never stop. But I did. And then I started again. And again after that. And again after that, until my eyes were nearly swollen shut and my head pounded and my heart stopped aching. I cried. I let it out. But you know what? That didn’t make me weak.I was still the caregiver and I was thankful. … I was thankful for a good hard cry.”
As you can tell from these comments caregivers don’t have all the answers nor do they have unlimited resources or energy. They simply do what needs to be done. And that takes a very special person.
If you know a caregiver reach out and lend a hand to help or an ear to listen and let him or her know they are not alone.
Thank you for following The Imperfect Caregiver.