Becoming a Caregiver

For those of you who don’t know–I have spent the last month in Texas, helping out as caregiver for my mom, who has Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. But this post is not necessarily about her, or her disease. Today I’m writing for me (and maybe for you).

I’ve been trying to figure out what I’m feeling, let it out so that it doesn’t consume me; and maybe if someone else sees what I’m feeling, they’ll know that its OK for them too. That becoming a caregiver to someone you love is not an easy task; physically draining and a full-on emotional roller coaster. But it’s something that I chose to do; that I’d choose again in a heartbeat.

Caregiving

Right now, I’m 1500 miles from home; and have been gone for weeks. I miss my house, I miss my friends, my dogs; and I miss my job. I’ve discovered that normal is such a fluid word. Normal used to be up early, driving to work as the sun rose in my eyes; and then driving home from work, with the sun setting in front of me.

A few years ago, my Father called me from New Mexico. He was dying and asked me to come; which I did. Stayed with him; held his hand; watched over him as best as I could. I was as strong as I could be for him; until I wasn’t–and then I fell apart. It was a few short weeks that I spent there, and it felt like a lifetime.

Now I find myself back in the role of caregiver; tending to my Mother, my Step Father and helping my sister–upon whose shoulders the majority of this caregiving role has fallen. I find myself struggling to find a new normal. Again.

Normal has become little to no sleep, from worry and a slight case of exhaustion; hand holding; hugging; losing track of time, of people and of things; trying to ease others’ fears and anxiety because they didn’t want to disturb us (please do, the world becomes very small for many caregivers).

photo byD. Sharon Pruitt, photographer & creator of simple visuals Visit my official website www.PinkSherbet.com

photo byD. Sharon Pruitt, photographer & creator of simple visuals
Visit my official website www.PinkSherbet.com

A Bubble in Time

The other night, I stood at the end of the driveway watching the moon rise over the alley; listening to the sounds of the late afternoon and the early evening.

The sounds I can’t hear inside the house, over the droning of the oxygen machines.

I wanted to walk down the alley, run to the park, escape to the street.

The moon was rising up into the sky; drifting through clouds, behind flocks of grackles, gulls and pigeons.

I wanted to go but felt subtle chains that I didn’t want to break; felt caught in this bubble in time.

This time that’s left, I hope it’s enough.

Enough to be there, to hold hands; to comfort and make sure that words of love are written on their hearts.

So that all who see them, who meet them on their next journey, know who they are, where they came from and that they are loved.

 

Comments

  1. What a good post, Ann. Those work days, I bet you wished sometimes you were somewhere else, now, you’d probably kill to go back to those 9-5 days. I hate it when we discover how awesome something is when a situation like yours right now is happening 🙁 Stay strong! xoxo

  2. Karin Del Rosario says:

    When absorbed with caring for the ill your world does become small and your “normal” distant.. Hang in there….. the peace of mind you will have when all is finished is priceless. Knowing you did all you could to help and ease your mom, sister & step dad it pays off in the end.. Good post my friend !!!

  3. Oh Ann, I hope you are getting a break here and there. Be sure to step away and treat yourself to lunch or wine. It is important to take care of yourself so you can be strong. You will be glad you did this later on…just take one day at a time and know you are not alone.

  4. Ann, hang in there. You’re being so brave and wonderful for your family. I’m sure you know already that later on you’ll be glad you took this time but like Raquel suggested — breaks are important! Take care.

  5. Oh, Ann–this brought back so many of the feelings I had when I was taking care of my mother in her final days. The total frustration–I remember banging my head against a brick wall–because I was willingly in a situation over which I had no control: I wanted it to end, but I didn’t want it to end! I can only say in retrospect that I’m so glad I did it–and I’m so glad I allowed myself to bang my head against that wall.

    • Yes, lots of head-banging going on; plus I keep having to remind myself to breathe deeply. Because of her illness, I have been breathing “with her” to help her calm down, but I need to also breathe for myself. And yes, as hard as this all is–I’m so glad I’m able to spend this time with her. Thanks.

  6. Such a challenging and extremely difficult role to take on. Especially to your parent. I will also look into caregiver resources. I know that when you have a loved one who is on disability there are programs for respite for care givers. That is also something to consider! I did it for a friend of mine through an agency paid for by the state. I will inquire about the program for you! So much love and solidarity. Thanks for posting this! So many are also going through it!

    • Thank you! We are using as many resources as we can find; honestly, there is never enough help it seems. So if you do find something, please don’t hesitate to share it.

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