Dear Caregiver, do you ever wonder what life will be like after your care-giving days are over? Today I am going to share a little about my life after my care-giving days. I hope it will be a blessing and encouragement to you.
It has been two years as of January 2nd since my husband's death. The last four and a half years of his life I was his caregiver. I witnessed his physical decline step by step during those years because of his incurable neurological disease. It was a very difficult time for me as his wife and caregiver.
So what happens after care-giving? Life after care-giving for me was a slow process of grieving my husband, Wayne, and processing all that transpired during those care-giving days. In some ways it is a process which I feel will be lifelong. Yet I am so thankful to God for the healing that has occurred. I still miss Wayne and have lonely moments almost every day, but new purpose has also come to my life. I have learned so very much from those care-giving days and during the days since Wayne's death. My faith in my Lord has deepened, and my relationship with Him has sweetened.
At the beginning of 2013 I begin to pray about a verse in the Bible which says God can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) My desire was for more than just strength to get through the day but for so much more. Through no effort on my part a few weeks later I was approached to see if I would be willing to do an interview with an New York Times blog writer about my feelings and emotions during and after care-giving. This interview took place on February 7 with Judith Graham. Judith Graham's blog post based on this interview and another caregiver's interview was posted on March 7.
The day of the interview I was nervous before the interview. I had asked others to pray for me, however, and during the interview I felt quite calm. I was able to say much of what was on my heart. When I initially received this request to do the interview I was rather blown away with the “wow” factor of it all. Opportunities like this do not happen to me. It was certainly immeasurably more than I could imagine happening. The blog post based on this did not publish until a month later, however, so there were moments when I wondered if it was going to happen. When it did publish I was once again blown away by this opportunity that had been given to me. If this New York Times post or my small blog posts here helps even one caregiver, I am blessed.
If you want to read the post go to http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/after-the-caregiving-ends/ The post contains my story and that of another former caregiver. My story is about in the middle of the post.
Dear Caregiver, care-giving is emotionally and physically draining. You also may be afraid of what life will be like after care-giving. Trust Him to guide and direct your path for the future. Trust Him to comfort and strengthen you.
I love how God has used you to help others like this Sharon! I love your openess, your honesty, and most of all your Faith. It's wonderful how you put all three of these into your writing and have become such an amazing source of inspirational support for others.ReplyDelete
God has Blessed you and you have shared that Blessing with others. <3
Thank you, Kathy, so very much. Your remarks are so encouraging. It helps to know that what I have gone through in the last years can be a source of help to others.ReplyDelete
We can never fully know what life will be like after providing care for another. I so love your perspective that if we help just one to be able to move ahead in giving that care, then we truly are "blessed" - there was a reason for all the twists and turns - and for the twists and turns that continue as we grieve.
I often find myself needing to have to hone in on reasons...maybe it's suppose to be enough to rest in what God has for us during a particular time - He knows, as He plans.
Like you, grief can overwhelm. God continues to draw me closer - to where I should be. I had a close friend turn her back on me and our family, on the eve of the first holidays without my mother. I don't understand, but I will rest that God does understand and that hurts like these do draw us closer to Him and to others that He knows we need (:
Sharon, I'm so grateful to read your inspirations for caregivers and as you interject: your struggles and honesty for after the care. Thank you Sharon - so very much.
Thank you, Bette, for your kind comments. I have found that knowing the reasons, seeking answers to the "why" questions is normal but is also not helpful. Resting in the Lord is what gives peace. It has been said that He doesn't give answers. He gives Himself. That is a tremendous help to me.ReplyDelete
I am sorry for how your friend treated you, Bette. Those kind of things are hurtful. I think sometimes people do not know the proper responses and how to meet people's needs, so they choose avoidance. This is sad. If we approach it from the point of view that they have not had the same experiences as us and don't know how to help us, we can let these things go more easily. Our Lord always does understand our heartaches, however.