Sunday, January 24, 2016


I wrote the following words about a month before my husband’s death in 2011: 

At first glance, it would seem ridiculous to associate rejoicing with care-giving. The last years have been very difficult years for my husband and me, and yet when I look back there is so much for which to be thankful. There is so much for which I can rejoice.
 In April of 2006, Wayne was diagnosed with his neurological disease. It is called Multiple Systems Atrophy type C. It is affecting his cerebellum.  Between the summer of 2006 when Wayne was diagnosed with his disease until now (December of 2010), Wayne has gone from still working, to walking with a cane, to a walker, and now to a wheelchair. Wayne’s disease affects everything. It affects his mobility, his balance, his speech, his eating habits, and even his personality.
The emotional feelings that surface with care-giving can be intense at times.  Every change downward is emotionally draining and scary. Also, the physical demands of care-giving are heavy. Finally, more of the decisions fall on me now.  So, what is there to rejoice about in this situation? For one thing, I know that I am becoming a much stronger person through all this. I am having to do things I never did before. This is good, as it has strengthened by character and confidence.
More importantly, it has strengthened my faith and my love for my God. Over and over, I have seen things fall into place when I felt I could no longer hold up. Most recently, my husband could no longer help me with transfers, as he lost his ability to stand up on his own. I thought I would have to put him in a nursing home. Right when I was at my lowest point of despair, my prayers were answered by the ability of my son to step up and help. Also, I was able to procure a sit-to-stand lift. Even though the lift is a clumsy, heavy piece of equipment to use, it is an answer to prayer. I have seen over and over again this kind of answer to prayer. So, I am sad about my husband’s illness; it is the heartbreak of my life. But I rejoice in the provisions from above.
 I also rejoice in my three sons and their wives. I rejoice in my wonderful grandchildren. I rejoice in their beautiful and sweet spirits and in their love for their grandpa and me. I rejoice that I am a breast cancer survivor. I also rejoice in the sun, which is shining today after many cloudy days. I rejoice in the daily blessings. Lord, help me to remember these blessings when I become sad or overwhelmed with the challenges of care-giving. 

Dear Christian caregiver, the challenges and heartaches of care-giving are always present, but the blessings are there also. How can you rejoice in this day?

(This post is a chapter in my book Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.  A link to the order page for my book can be found on the right hand side of this page.) 


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