Monday, August 8, 2011
Shifting of Roles
“It’s becoming difficult to remember what it felt like when he wrapped me in his arms, and I felt secure and wanted instead of motherly and needed.” Such was a recent comment made by Jennifer, a woman on an online caregiving site. Those words so echo the feelings I experienced as a caregiver for my husband. My husband’s neurological disease robbed him of so much. It also robbed our relationship of so much. When a relationship becomes a caregiver-care receiver relationship things change.
For awhile during the progression of his disease my husband, Wayne, enjoyed listening to audio books. One day almost three years into the progression of his disease Wayne was listening to an autobiography about a man who suffered through MS. My husband’s disease was a different and I would say a worse neurological disease, but there was much in the book with which my husband could identify.
While my husband was listening to this particular audio book on this particular day, I overheard a few comments made by the author of this book. The man was speaking about how much the disease had robed them of his and his wife’s relationship with one another. He said that their relationship had become more of a mother or caregiver to a child relationship than a wife to a husband relationship. I also felt the loneliness of that reality so often myself with my husband’s disease. That shifting of roles was so difficult sometimes. I loved my husband, but this was not how I had envisioned living our retirement years.
I look back now with pleasure to the many good years my husband and I had together. I thank God for the blessing of a husband who loved me, protected me, and was my life’s companion. His disease and subsequent death changed that. Life has a way of changing things. So is there anything in life we can count on not to change?
My Lord God never changes. Even though my husband could not be for me what he had been in the past, God was there for me. When I longed and still long to be wrapped in my husband’s arms my Lord wraps His arms around me. He is my source of security and joy.
Dear Christian Caregiver, sometimes the pain of caregiving can be so intense that it is difficult to feel God’s presence, peace, and joy. His presence is with us at all times, however, in spite of our feelings. Trust Him. Rest in Him. In the measure you do this you will begin to feel His presence above the noise of your pain. You will feel His arms wrapped around you in love. You will feel His strength.