Sunday, April 27, 2014

But, What About Today?!!

One of the crazy-making emotions cranked up by caregiving is the intimation of our own mortality. If we’re caring for a someone, especially if they are elderly, we can’t help getting the feeling, “That’ll be me one day.”

There are two sides to the feeling so let’s lay’em out: First, we’re right on a variety of levels. If we’re lucky and nothing bad out of the blue happens we probably have a lot years left.

And yes, lot is a relative word, but we have…years…left.

The other side is that, yes, there may be a day in which we’re in a similar situation to the person for whom we’re caring.

Our society has only recently started helping us believe that we can age gracefully and that the years of life ahead of us don’t have to be a slogging through the mud of life death sentence.

Caring for another, and watching how they accept their later time in life, can help each of us decide, “is this how I want to do aging?”

And the benefit of our experience may not accrue solely to us. Everyone from our siblings and friends to children and co-workers will see how we handle our caregiving experience and how we deal with our own aging. They may discover a new way to experience compassion, empathy, caring and love for others by our example.

Today is a new day. We get to make choices about today. And today doesn’t have to be like yesterday.

Monday, April 14, 2014

No Blessings, No Kidding

Last week I was noting the fact that I said the blessing 3 times one day while having lunch alone. I was so stressed I didn’t remember having said it.

That word, blessings, gets tossed around a lot in discussions about caregiving and that tossing is one of the things that makes us crazy.

People will say, “It’s such a blessing to be able to care for my dad.” Or, “I get many blessings when caring for mom.” Or, “In the future I’ll look back and understand that caring for my wife was a blessing.”

All that is probably true, but you know, the future ain’t right now.

Let’s be honest, some days caregiving is not a blessing and it’s virtually impossible to look into the future and imagine looking back on your experiences and seeing anything as a blessing.

The best way, in fact, the only way to deal with times like that are to take the caregiving journey one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

Set a goal to make it to suppertime or bedtime. If you can make it to then you get a small respite. And then, after a short rest, it starts again.

Setting short-term goals and giving yourself small rewards are really the best ways to move through the most difficult times.

Yes, there will be a day when all this is over, but today isn’t the day.

If you can find blessings today, God Bless You. If you can’t look for those moments of rest and escape that…truly…are a blessing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Said the Blessing 3 Times and Didn't Remember

Had lunch on the road on the way to see my mom at the nursing home on Saturday. It’s about about a 90-minute drive and I thought I’d catch lunch before I saw her.

I said the blessing 3 times.

I know that sounds crazy. I was dining by myself. And I didn’t say them one after the other.

But, I kept thinking, “Did I say the blessing?”

I realized that I had so many things on my mind about Mama and life that I…just…didn’t keep up. Once again, caregiving was making me crazy.

Caregiving makes you crazy. That’s enough said for anyone who’s into it. You have to slow down a little and register what’s going on around you.

I’ve started posting a note on my back door that says, “Cellphone.” If I don’t have something to remind me I’ll leave my phone on the counter and get miles down the road and have to turn around; or, stay stressed all day without it

If you’re starting to worry about me, thanks. I’m not worrying yet about myself. I’ve just got so much on my mind, like you probably do, and I’m creating tools, habits and systems that allow me to meet my responsibilities and keep up with life.