Monday, September 26, 2011

The Losses of Caregiving Part Two

If your loved one has suffered with a terminal disease or with a disease which has caused a severe disability, your loved one has experienced serious losses in his or her life. As mentioned before in the previous post you as his or her caregiver have also suffered serious losses. You have most likely suffered the loss of a relationship as it once existed and the loss of time doing fun things together with your loved one. You have also suffered a loss of dreams for the future. As a caregiver you may have further lost the help of your ill loved one with duties around the house.  Finally because of the expenses of caregiving you may have lost possessions and financial security.

In September of 2009 I wrote about the loss of my husband’s leadership in decision making due to his illness. I journaled the following words:
“I do weary of being responsible for so many decisions. When we bought a different vehicle this summer, I did all the talking and dealing. When there are telephone calls to be made or problems to be solved it is I who has to take charge. Soon we will have some major insurance issues to consider. That will be mainly my responsibility. We may have a chance to move from our apartment to a condo. There is a condo in our price range available, but all the things to think about in regard to such a possibility are a bit overwhelming.

I love the good times my husband and I still have together, but I miss the way things used to be. I miss the times when my husband took more responsibility for these type things and decisions. I miss the person my husband used to be.”

The losses and the stresses of caregiving can be overwhelming at times. Always remember, dear Christian Caregiver, that the Lord God is with you in the losses. His plans for your future are also good. He can turn the chaos and heartaches of caregiving into something beautiful in your character and in your future. Rest in Him.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Losses of Caregiving

In 2006 my husband, Wayne, was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease called Multiple Systems Atrophy type c. During the course of his disease he declined to the point that he was basically dependent on me and those who helped me for all his care. He suffered many losses during his disease. I also suffered many losses as his caregiver.

On January 2, 2011 about four and one half years after Wayne’s diagnosis my son and I found that Wayne had passed away during the night. Some time in February of 2011 I started attending some Christian grief/share sessions. One of the things our workbook mentioned in every lesson was that the loss of a loved one results in layers of lost. There is a lost of a relationship, of time, of dreams, help with duties around the house, and sometimes possessions.

If you are the caregiver of a loved one with a terminal disease you may have already begun to experience some of these losses, however. I definitely experienced many of these losses during my caregiving years. Dreams for the future are often lost when a loved one becomes terminally ill or contracts a disabilitating disease. Relationships also often change. I felt my relationship with Wayne in many ways changed from a husband wife relationship to a caregiver-care recipient relationship. My husband in years past had always been very handy around the house. I also felt that loss.

In April of 2009 I wrote about the experience of the loss of my husband’s companionship. I wrote the following:
“I went to a musical program with a friend last night. It was very enjoyable with lots of nice variety. There had been some frustrating moments at our house on Friday and Saturday, so it was so nice to get away with a friend. I also love music.

I enjoyed the program last night very much, but it did bring back memories of going to musical programs with my husband at this same building in the past. Now because of his disease my husband is too tired to go to many places, or he is too unmotivated. Sometimes the logistics are too difficult. Even though I enjoyed going with a friend, I do miss those days when my husband and I enjoyed doing those things together. Sometimes I go places like church alone too. There is a certain loneliness in that. It makes me feel a bit like a widow already especially when I see couples together seemingly happy and healthy. This is my path now, however, and there is a divine purpose in it all.”

Dear Christian Caregiver the losses can really hurt. I think the loss or change in a relationship that one once had with one’s love one is the most difficult. The Lord does want to be your constant friend and help through all this, dear Caregiver. The Lord God will never change, and He always will be with you. Lean on Him during those very difficult moments.

Monday, September 12, 2011


Caregiving not only involves the tasks of caring for one’s loved one, but there is also a lot of emotional turmoil which can accompany the caregiving process. I found this especially true in the later months of my husband’s illness. Transfers to the bathroom, bed, and car were becoming increasingly difficult; and I was finding myself fearfully anticipating each next transfer.

God wants us to do everything in dependence on Him. Caregiving began to teach me that self-sufficiency would not work. Apart from God we can do nothing of eternal value. God’s deepest desire for you, dear Christian caregiver, is that you depend on Him in every situation. There is no other way to travel through the challenges and sometimes grief of caregiving. Rely on the Lord constantly. Let Him fill you moment by moment with His strength. You do not have enough strength on your own, dear caregiver, but He will give you enough strength for the day.

As I look back on the days I was a caregiver for my husband, those days were very difficult days. My husband’s disease was a terrible disease which made him completely dependent on others at the end. Through it all as I look back, however, I can see how God provided step by step. I clung tightly to God during those days. Perhaps my emotional stress would have been lighter, however, if I would not have tried to anticipate the future. I needed to rely moment by moment on God alone.

The Lord wants to give you His peace in the midst of the chaos of caregiving, dear Christian caregiver. Take time each morning to sit quietly in His Presence through prayer and Bible reading. Then walk through the day constantly reminding yourself of His Presence. His peace which will come from doing this is a rare and beautiful treasure, and it can stand up under the struggles of the day. Wear God’s peace throughout the day.

He will refresh you when you are weary, dear caregiver. He will give you what you need when you feel as if you cannot go on in your caregiving duties one more moment. Also do not become discouraged when your emotions so overwhelm you that you do not feel this peace, dear Christian caregiver. God understands our weakness. On those days just turn once again back to the Lord.

Monday, September 5, 2011

God's Sure Love

It is so difficult in our human minds to reconcile two truths. One truth is that God loves us. The other truth is that God allows us to face very difficult challenges and even suffering in this life. Sometimes the challenges and suffering we face tempts us to doubt God’s love for us.

Caregiving by definition is challenging at best. If a caregiver is put into the position of witnessing his or her loved one’s health continue to deteriorate step by step, that caregiver might also experience discouragement, grief, and a host of other negative emotions. Even though God’s ways are difficult to understand sometimes, one truth to which Christian caregivers can cling, however, is the truth of God’s overflowing and certain love for them.

God is the very definition of love. We tend to think that when life is easy and comfortable God must love us. Conversely, if things are difficult and challenging in our lives; we may be tempted to think God no longer cares for us. If we begin to see things from God’s perspective, however, we realize that suffering and challenges have purpose and meaning.

Christian caregivers knows that the emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges of caregiving are molding their characters. They know that somehow God is going to bring good out of the chaos, heartache, and overwhelming challenges of caregiving. They know that God is going to going to be with them each step of the way supporting them and sustaining them with His love and power.

Dear Christian caregiver. Rest in the truth of God’s love for you in the midst of all the negative emotions that caregiving can produce. Trust that He in His love will lead you through this difficult process. Trust that good will come out of all of the heartaches and challenges of caregiving. Just rest in trust in His love.