Caregiver Perspective: I'm No Angel
I admit my life is very busy and very difficult. I also admit I manage it pretty well, but just because I have to do some pretty difficult tasks day after day and I keep doing them, doesn’t make me an angel. I realize that most people who are not full time caregivers are amazed at what I do and how I manage but that just means I know stuff and I have abilities and that God blessed me with a servant’s heart that allows me to meet these challenges without quitting. It does not make me an angel.
I bet if you’re a caregiver, you’ve been called an angel a time or two, also. It’s a compliment that is intended to reward you for all your hard work, and I admit, it sounds nice, but when someone tells me I’m an angel, I’m embarrassed and I feel guilty because I’m far from being an angel.
When I think about angels, I envision members of the heavenly host who are pure of heart and self-sacrificing with joy and enthusiasm. They fly around (with or without wings depending on what they need) and take care of situations protecting people from harm and helping them with all sorts of wisdom and support. They are pleasant, loving, talented, beings who calmly resolve problems through word, song, or touch. They aren’t resentful, they never get tired, they are always faithful and hopeful, and smile all the time. Folks that just isn’t me! I’m grumpy. I complain A LOT. I get resentful. I lose hope and I OFTEN feel sorry for myself. Yeah, I’m selfish and self-centered and none of that sounds like what I think an angel should be so when someone calls me an angel, I know the truth and feel like an imposter.
I wish I was more like an angel. I wish I always showed compassion and was always forgiving. I wish that when I was called back to do something else for the 5th time in 30 minutes that my first thought was not, “What do you want now?” But, it is and I often come back to his room with that look of annoyance and impatience screaming forth from my body language. I hate that about myself. I don’t want to be like that. I know he isn’t calling just to control me. I know if he could do it himself, he would…at least my rational mind knows that but what my demon mind thinks is, “He can move one arm, why does he need me to change the TV channel for him?” I tell myself a story that he just wants me to do it all for him so that it’s easier and more convenient for him. I expect to some extent that’s true, but really, for him to change a TV channel takes a tremendous amount of will-power and energy. So much so that afterwards, he’s likely to be worn out and fall asleep so that whatever it was that he wanted to watch, is not going to be seen anyway.
I appreciate people’s compliments. I know it’s their way of offering encouragement and telling me how special they think I am, but I’m not. I’m just human. I just take life one day at a time. On days that I have slept well, I’m more tolerant. On days that I haven’t slept well or he’s being very needy, I act like anything but an angel. If they want to compliment me (and I love the compliments, don’t get me wrong), just say I do a fantastic job or that Lynn is fortunate to have me as his wife. Those compliments I can accept and own; just please don’t compare me to an angel; it’s just not me.
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