“You must be a saint.”
I heard that I a lot when I was caring for Rodger. Always from people who were not caregivers themselves. Rodger would have been the first to agree with the response I always gave.
“I’m no saint.”
Caregivers know there is nothing saintly about us or what we do. I lost my patience, became angry on occasion, felt put upon for all the changes in my life, and often prayed for the strength to make it through another day. I stumbled often and denigrated myself for doing so.
I didn’t understand that stumbling along is the only way either of us could move through the challenges. Ours was not a lovely choreographed waltz through life. Raucous and primitive the music of dementia demands unpredictable movement and uncomfortable positions. Falling from time to time is a requirement allowing us time to take a much-needed breath and identify the ever-changing rhythm before grasping hands and continuing on.
The fault here is not in our movement, it is in the mistaken belief that every step must be perfect for the dance to hold beauty.
Caregivers, my message to you today is, be kind to yourself. “When you stumble make it part of the dance.”