When You’re the Caregiver

nurse cap tree topper IIThings can turn on a dime.

One day you’re celebrating the 86th birthday of one of your parents and six days later receiving a text that they have been taken to Emergency with a suspected stroke. An MRI later and it’s no longer suspected. It’s confirmed. With one side no longer functioning, one of your two hands becomes their necessary extra one.

Your world has now expanded, unexpectedly and hurriedly. Where yesterday’s to-do list was loaded with the usual must-do’s and mundane when-I-get-to-them tasks, today’s looks like a double or triple toilet paper roll!

Add in the emotional piece,
the burning the candle at both ends piece,
the I’m so tired I can’t think straight piece,
the there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done piece
the will this day ever end? piece
and whatever other pieces parts make up the ingredients of your present and future…for how long, only God knows.

Your heart knows you would not do anything differently than what you are needed to do.

But it doesn’t take long for the initial spurt of adrenaline to wear off in three, four, five long days.

So what do you do? How do you now navigate through the many details and issues thrust upon you? How do you fit in the necessities of your own life and family while bearing your friend or loved one’s burden of ill health, disease, life-threatening or debilitating physical circumstance?

We’re going to answer those questions together.

One thing I know. There is strength in numbers. More importantly, there is strength that comes from the Lord and from those who have walked – or are still walking – in the shoes you may be wearing right now.

If you have served a friend or loved one as a caregiver during an extended disease or life-threatening illness, I’d very much like to hear from you. Will you take a moment and share in the comments section below one or two tips or encouragements that you have learned to appreciate or deem vitally important as a caregiver?

I’ll be compiling a future post for the purpose of sharing your and others’ bits of care-giver wisdom.

I and all of us readers will thank you!

~ Nancy

photo credit: tsayrate via photopin cc

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  1. Nanc
    Praying for you and all involved in the situation.
    Tips Take time for yourself and your spouse each week to get away for a few hours to be alone and just talk.
    Learn it is ok to ask for help from others when it is offered.
    LEAN on God when you are exhausted and know He will give you what you need for that moment or day!
    Love CP

  2. Hi Nancy,
    Thirty years ago my husband and I were asked to foster a three month old baby boy, and we did. We already had three children of our own. That request was for an unknown time…it could have been anything from a few days to a few months. It turned out to be a lifetime commitment. It also turned out that baby boy had significant cognitive, emotional and behavioural disabilities that were not initially evident at that very young age but became apparent as he grew. Thirty years on as his main caregiver and I am trying to think what words of wisdom can I share here and I really have only one at this moment. I have learned that Jesus is sufficient. I have lived all the things you describe, sometimes for days, weeks and years on end: tiredness, frustration, the running on empty feeling, frayed emotions, the constant dealings with doctors, hospitals, governmental authorities….well I won’t go on but you get the picture. Our beautiful 30 year old autistic son now lives in supported accommodation but is still a major part of our lives and I am still responsible for co-ordinating major areas of his life. But no matter how tired I got, how teary, how frustrated, how inadequate I felt, I learned along the way that Jesus, His love, His grace, was sufficient to get me through whatever each day brings, even at the times I just wanted to sit in a corner and scream, or cry, or sleep! Wish I could come up with some wonderful words of wisdom for people caring for others on a daily basis, but I can’t put it any other way: He is sufficient. We aren’t, but He is. And if we will allow Him to, He will get us through.

    • Cheryl ~ what a beautiful and sacred view into thirty years of experience with care giving. You inspire me; your thoughts will inspire many others. Jesus is sufficient. Amen.
      Bless you and your care giver’s heart. Thank you so much for sharing.

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