Caregiving just happens!
While our Caregiving journey ended in March of 2014, I continue to reflect on our journey together and how my life has changed after caregiving ends. While in the midst of caregiving I learned that there are thousands upon thousands of family caregivers across the country who share a common bond, who instantly know what you are going through, even though our caregiving journeys are different. Being a family caregiver is like having an extended family, knowing that someone will be there for you with a kind word or a hug. I also learned that as a family caregiver, there is no gender or orientation boundaries, we all simply care for the one we love!
Caregiving just happens! It could be an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident. Who plans on being a caregiver? While all of our caregiving experiences are different, there is a part of caregiving that I think we all experience, the beginning and the ending, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life-changing events. We live in the moment of our caregiving journey while desperately praying for a miracle, hoping the next day will be better than the day before, then all of a sudden, it’s over.
Like many of you, our caregiving journey was filled with many ups and downs. As I look back on our caregiving journey, I know now the good days far outweighed the bad ones. We might not think that way when we are in the midst of the caregiving trenches, but I have come to know that this is true. As caregivers, we sometimes get caught in the mindset that we can do this alone, or that we do not need any additional help. Along the way I learned reaching out for help was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Reaching out for help and being mindful of your own personal health and well-being is job #1 for all caregivers. Yet, easier said than done!
I believe there is no greater honor that can be bestowed on us than to be entrusted with the care of another human being. Caregiving encompasses every part of our life. During our caregiving journey, my partner Richard was the pilot and I was the co-pilot. He was the one going through the radiation treatment, he was the one taking the medication. I was there in a supporting role, simply loving, caring, coping, advocating as best I could. While in the midst of caregiving, we often lose sight of what is happening right in front of us because we are so intent on service and care. I know it happened to me. I also know, more importantly, I have no regrets. It is truly an honor to be a family caregiver!