GRIEVING DISCUSSION BOARDS > Caregiver Support Discussion

Getting Through the Day: A Call to Former and Present Caregivers

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dsmyer1:
Grief and caregiving are often lived together in many different ways. Some people grieve for one family member while caring for another.  Or the grief they lived while caring for a loved one now continues on in bereavement. Some have moved from caregiving through bereavement several times.

If you are or have been a family caregiver, you have a valuable word of experience and encouragement to share with other caregivers.  In your own experience, how do caregivers live with their own grief from day to day, as they take care of a loved one?  Perhaps there were words of wisdom that have been shared with you, or that you wish had been shared with you, during the times you needed them.  Here is an opportunity to pass them along to present and future caregivers.

Day by day, you might have lived with grief while doing your best to stay mobilized for caregiving.  Depending on your particular situation, you might have worked outside the home, cared for other important people in your lives, and cared for yourselves.  You might have felt distressed by guilt, sorrow or feelings of being overwhelmed.  You might have talked it out with a trusted friend or written it out in a journal.  Perhaps you needed more support from family members or more flexibility from your place of employment.  Your sorrow may have interfered with your ability to be fully present with your loved one in the here and now.    

Sometimes getting though the day consists of getting through the moments as best you can.  It can mean fully experiencing periods of calm when they occur in between the crises or responsibilities you are balancing.  It might mean enjoying problem-free moments with your loved one, even if they are brief or fleeting. 

Living in distress or from crisis to crisis can feel like living under a storm cloud?one that follows you from place to place.  Perhaps as the storm developed, you have needed to take cover, or perhaps there was nothing to shelter you.  Let's begin to talk about ways that you endured the storm. 

As a caregiver, did you discover moments where the sun peeked out through the clouds?  Did you find a person, place or activity that brought you a little peace, hope or joy?  The rays of sun can be elusive.  As past or present caregivers, please share something that helped you through the day, especially as you balanced caring for yourself and giving care to your loved one. 


Dawn Smyer, Psy.D., M.Div.
Caregiver Services Coordinator
Continuum Hospice Care

Mary Frances:
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to a very important subject.  Upon reflection, I think that getting through the day involves appreciation for the gift of life--mine as well as my loved one.  Gratitute causes me to count my blessings and focus on what is possible instead of projecting negative outcomes.  This works for me on some days, while on other days I just put one foot in front of the other and do the next task in front of me.
   

dsmyer1:
Mary Frances, thank you for sharing your thoughts. You have described two very important approaches?appreciation of what has not been lost and handling tasks one step at a time.  It?s good to have your flexibility, because our moods are going to change from time to time. Sometimes you are able to reflect on your blessings, and sometimes you just have to get things done.

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