Our identities are so often wrapped up with our various roles in life. Our identities, however, really should be a reflection of whom we are inside. Our identities should reflect our values, passions, likes and dislikes, and our tastes.
My husband, Wayne, and I were married for over 39 years. During that time I was his wife, lover, and best friend. I was also the mother to our three sons and later a mother-in-law and a Grandma.
During the last years of my husband’s life I also took on the role of my husband’s caregiver. As my husband’s caregiver I was often bombarded with questions like, “How’s Wayne?” I never knew how to answer that question. Outside of a miracle my husband was NOT going to get better but only worse. He was not going to get over his disease like the common cold. There was no treatment for his disease, and his symptoms were predicted to continue to deteriorate. So how was I to answer a question like “How is Wayne?” People knew this, and I still was asked that question. I also felt that I was more than my husband’s caregiver, and I didn’t constantly want to be identified only as Wayne’s caregiver.
As my husband’s wife and caregiver I grieved each step backwards that he took in his disease. It was a painful seeing the love of my love deteriorate before my eyes. The role of being his caregiver did become almost all consuming. Because of this it also almost become my identity. After my husband’s death on January 2, 2011 my new status become widow. I now have to work my way through the grief process and struggle to find a new purpose and role in life.
As we said before, however, our identities are not equal to our roles in life. Our identities should reflect our inner beings and passions. The roles we play in life should merely be a sort of vehicle for fleshing out our identities. Also as a Christian our true identities are really only found in our relationship with our Lord. That relationship will get us through the most difficult of challenges and trials.
Dear Caregiver, the caregiving role can be so consuming that you forget who you are as a person. In the midst of the overwhelming decisions and challenges of caregiving it is important that you do not lose sight of who you are as a unique individual. Most importantly do not lose sight, Christian caregiver, of your significant identity in Christ.