(This post is from yet another chapter from my book, Dear Caregiver Reflections for Family Caregivers.)
Dear family caregiver, have you ever said to yourself, “This is too much for me! I can not handle the stress and emotional burdens of care-giving one more day!” I know I thought those thoughts when I was a caregiver.
One day in the middle of July of 2010, I was feeling pretty despondent. I was seeing yet again some serious declines in my husband’s health. I had been led to believe the life expectancy after diagnosis of his rare neurological disease was six to ten years. Wayne’s declines were coming so fast, however, that I felt as if I was always a step behind in keeping up with them. As it turned out, Wayne only lived about four and a half years after diagnosis and about five and half months after that discouraging day in July of 2010.
On that day in mid July I found myself having a good cry. At that time I hardly ever cried, because I felt I had to stay so strong all the time. So this was a bit rare for me then. First of all, Wayne had been spending a lot of his time sleeping away his days. Then we had experienced some rather difficult transfers from his wheelchair to the bathroom and back to his wheelchair the day before. I also had recently received some other discouraging news. I was feeling like I could not do this anymore. I was feeling as if it was all too much for me.
Soon after that, I received a card in the mail from my son's family from Iowa. The front of the card read like this, “Nothing that comes your way is too much for you. No matter what it is, God is more than equal to it—you’re not, but He is and He lives in you.” Wow! Talk about a message from God just when I really needed it. Inside the card was written a personal message thanking me for all that I did for Wayne, my son’s Dad.
Earlier in that same week I had placed an ad in our local village ad paper for care-giving help for an hour once or twice a week in the evenings to get my husband to the bathroom and into bed. I thought I would be doing good if I received just one reply. Yet that paper came out that same day, and I received 5 replies! I was able to set up with one of these woman who responded to come in twice a week and later three times a week for an hour each at bedtime. The rates also were very reasonable. So that was another spirit lifter that day. This lady helped me the last months of my husband’s life. Also at the very end my local son was also able to step up and help me.
Those care-giving years especially the last months were very difficult and emotionally and physically challenging, but God was with me each step of the way. He paved the way. He will pave the way for you also, dear Christian caregiver.