I wrote the following words in April of 2011, a few months after my husband’s death:
“The last couple days have been beautiful in my town. It has finally begun to feel like spring. Even though it has been a cold spring this year and spring has been long in coming, spring reminds me of new life and hope. The appearance of robins several weeks back was an indication that spring was on its way. The promise of spring reminds me that, just as winter is finally fleeing, so the heartaches of life are not forever.”
Care-giving for a loved one with a prolonged disease can be very discouraging. Witnessing the gradual but ever increasing deterioration of a loved one’s health is extremely disheartening. It can feel like the winter of life with no end in sight and no sign of hope for the future.
As a caregiver for my husband with a serious neurological disease, I often felt discouraged. As his mobility and a host of other issues continued to decline, I sometimes felt overwhelmed and stressed. This became especially true when transfers became more and more difficult. As a Christian caregiver and child of God, however, I knew that there was always hope. I knew that my hope was an eternal hope. As I was going through the care-giving journey, hope and my relationship with my Lord were what kept me going and persevering.
So what is hope? While I was a caregiver I wrote the following words about hope:
“Hope reminds me that I do not really have to be in a state of panic. Things will work out in the end, and I will be guided step by step. Hope tells me that care-giving will never be easy, but there is an eternal purpose to this all. God’s purpose will be fulfilled in me, and His love is with me. Hope tells me that what I do in care-giving is important, and it has eternal consequences. Hope tells me that the trials of care-giving are forming my character to become stronger. It reminds me to not focus on what I see, but on what will be and on what is good in my life right now. Hope focuses on seeing the small miracles of each day and knowing and trusting they will continue.”
Hope is a great ally to have in facing care-giving challenges and in facing the challenges of life in general. Hope helps to promote wellness and joy and peace in the midst of the challenges. Dear caregiver, do not give up hope. Embrace hope in the same way as you embrace the hope and newness of spring.
(The above meditation is found in my book DEAR CAREGIVER subtitled Reflections for Family Care-givers. You can order my book online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Xulon, my publisher. Links to my order pages at Amazon and Xulon are found on the right hand of the screen. You can also get a book directly from me. To use that option email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Recently a woman who ordered my book wrote me the following words via e-mail: “I read it every morning before I get out to bed and it helps to prepare my outlook on the day in front of me! It is like having a friend come alongside you, who has been on the path ahead.... saying....'walk this way, be careful about this, and rest here for a bit on your journey.' Your book is truly a gift that helps point our eyes to Christ as we are serving others.”)