Sunday, July 1, 2018

Grief After Care-giving Ends

Most of my posts are directed to current family caregivers.  Having experienced first hand the challenges of caring for my husband and watching his body deteriorate step by step, it is now my passion to encourage current family caregivers.  Having said that, however, I also know that eventually losing a loved one to a disease and the resulting grief is also sometimes part of family care-giving.  This was part of my care-giving experience.  So this post is directed to past caregivers; because in a sense, once a caregiver one is always a caregiver.

I recently found something in my Facebook memories that I wrote on June 27, 2011 about six months after my husband's death.  This is what I wrote:

"July second it will be six months since Wayne’s (Dad’s) death. In some way it seems like a lot longer than that, and in other ways it seems just like yesterday. These last six months have been far more difficult than I could have imagined. I am told I need to be patient. Grief processing takes months and sometimes years, but the pain will get better. Grief is always with me. There are many joyful moments, but grief is still there just below the surface. There are also really sad moments where it is hard to pull out the sadness. Emotions during grief are unpredictable and intense. Grief emotions can ambush at unexpected moments. It is a very difficult and tiring process to go through. Yet I know what I am experiencing is normal grief emotions.I would so appreciate your continued prayers. Please know too that I do not need fixing. Only God can do that in His timetable. You do not need to say the right thing or even say anything. Your presence, hugs, phone calls, short notes, and listening ears is all I need. Sometimes I will want to talk about my feelings. Sometimes I would rather talk about other things. Sometimes I need a mixture of both. I always like to talk about Wayne (Dad). 

I still cry nearly daily. Sometimes the tears ambush unexpectedly. Don’t be uncomfortable, if that happens in your presence. I do not apologize for the tears. They are not a sign of weakness or lack of faith. They are God’s gift to me of release, and they are actually a sign I am slowly recovering.

Please pray that God will use this time of grieving to grow me and equip me to minister to others with greater compassion than ever before. I will not just survive, but full joy will return. (Psalm 30:5b) That is God’s promise to me, and I claim it. If you have suffered a similar type loss, please feel free to share it with me. It will help me rather than make me feel worse.

Thank you for caring about me. Thank you to those who listen and pray. It is a gift to me for which I will always be thankful."

Seven and a half years later I can now say, "God is good."  The emotional ache has not gone away completely, but I have learned to rebuild my life around the ache.  My life still has struggles, and it would be nice to have my husband with me in those struggles.   Yet the Lord has helped me use painful past and current struggles for His glory and to help others.  My faith has become so much sweeter in the process.  God's joy is present.

Dear former caregiver, rest in the Lord and go deep in His Word.  Trust Him to guide and protect. Then the joy will return.


No comments:

Post a Comment