Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Boats and Caregiving...a Comparison?

Hang with me on this one because I’m going to compare two situations—boats and caregiving—that seem to have little in common, but, the more I think about them the more connections there are.

There’s an old saying among boat owners that the two happiest days of their lives are the days they bought their boats and the days they sold them. Boats are a blast when everything is working. The day you buy a boat you are imagining all the fun it’ll be, the days on the water, wind in your hair, sun on your face. But, even when things are going great there’s a ton of expense, time, and effort just to use them. 

When boats aren’t working it’s even worse; you have to haul’em around to get’em fixed and that can be extraordinarily expensive. The day you sell your boat you may be remembering some of the fun you had, but you’ll also be breathing a sigh of relief that the stress associated with the boat is over.

Now, flip the two topics around…two of the saddest days of life for a lot of us are the days we find out we’re caregivers and the day our caregiving responsibilities end. The day we become caregivers can be one of the scariest days of life. I remember my brother and me standing in the parking lot of a rehabilitation center and thinking, “How do we handle this?” There were challenges ahead we couldn’t imagine. 

I also vividly remember the instant Joe and I decided, while standing in the parking lot of a hospital, that we were not going to extend our mother’s death by continuing extraordinary measures. He called me two days and said, “Mama passed away about 15 minutes ago.” Our sense of relief—for Mama and for us—was almost embarrassing.

Being honest about the emotions caregiving causes is one of the ways to keep it from making life crazy…

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