Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Caregiver's Grief

Caregiving for someone you love at best can be demanding and exhausting. If the person for whom you are caring has an illness without a cure and continues to decline before your very eyes, caregiving can become very discouraging. It can then feel like a grief process from which one can not escape. The trouble with this kind of grief process is that one never comes to complete resolution, because when one has accepted one step backwards in one’s loved one’s life another step backwards appears on the horizon.

As a caregiver for my husband for four and one half years I experienced many of these emotions. I was a part of a wonderful online support group at caregiving.com. This was very helpful, and I would recommend it to anyone who is a family caregiver. There were also many people who were praying for us and who showed kindness to us. It is amazing at times like this to find out who really shows care and concern, and who does not. Sometimes the care and concern is shown from ones from whom we least expect it, and it is not given by those whom we would expect to show love and concern.

In spite of all this I often felt alone in this process. It was me after all who basically dealt with the vast majority of the grief and challenges of helping my husband meet his daily needs, as he declined step by step. I did have the Lord God with me, however. I know He was with me step by step guiding me even when I was at my lowest points emotionally.

I also know He identified with me. The shortest verse of the Bible says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) He also felt crushed with grief when His friends were sleeping and not praying with Him and for Him in His greatest hour of trial just before He was put on the cross. (Matthew 26) As well as being my Savior He understood and identified with my every weakness, sorrow, and need as a caregiver to my husband. (Hebrews 4:15-16)

Other people can not fully understand and identify with the caregiver’s heartache. The Lord God can identify, however. Dear caregiver, trust that the Lord God truly understands your grief, discouragement, and worries. He truly identifies with You, and He truly can help and comfort.

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