I was reading in Helping Yourself Help Others, A book for Caregivers by Rosalynn Carter, where she shares. “I prayed for my father’s recovery, to no avail. Before, I had had faith that I could achieve anything I set out to do. But with his worsening condition and eventual death, I lost all confidence. After all, my prayers couldn’t keep my father alive. I began questioning whether God loved me, and then I felt guilty about having those thoughts.”
It has been three and a half years since my father has passed. I just completed reading this quote for a second time so that I could include it in this newsletter. It moved me to tears and struck me with such a heavy pang in my chest. My eyes are flooded with tears..because I can relate to this. To date, I still have not regained back all my confidence to trust in God, the higher source and the universe.
Yet, I must also express that every day I do heal. Time definitely heals. I have regained more confidence and trust with each passing day. ( In the future, at another time, I would like to discuss the different emotional issues we go through when facing the eventual loss of a loved one.)
However, for the moment I would like you to just sit for a few minutes with your eyes closed and focus on your faith. What Is faith to you? What does your faith impinge on? Can you begin to imagine even a little bit, how you will deal with this when it is time for closure? How often do you reside in your victim attitude of why me? Of negative thinking? Of denial to yourself as well as your loved one?
Now I would like you to imagine what it would feel like to have the inner knowingness that there are lessons to be learned for you as the caregiver as well as for the individual you are caring for. Can you begin to accept and understand that we have no control over anyone but ourselves god We can only love, nuture and support the ones we care for with love, compassion, understanding and truth. In knowing that we do the very best we can, somewhere within ourselves, we must acknowledge and trust that we have done the very best that we can.
We sometimes lose focus of the real accomplishments, the mini miracles that take place on a daily basis because we cannot see the bigger picture that God, or the universe has in store for us. This is all apart of the unknown which requires our trust and faith.
Caregiving changes our lives for the good. All forms of caregiving, whether they be a spouse, a child or parent, have very unique challenges and emotions attached to the process as well as similar feelings and emotions. Take time to reflect on the positives that have resulted for you as a caregiver. If it is someone else who was in your shoes, how would you praise them for all they had done, are doing and continue to do.
Acknowledge yourself through this process and honor yourself, because you are committed, you are doing the work and usually we really do the best that we can, even if we think we aren’t. It is important to shift our beliefs to the positive to gain strength to endure the challenges which lay before us.
Copyright Gail R. Mitchell 2000