Thankful to Be a Caregiver
Being a caregiver is difficult. It’s a lot of hard work; it’s emotionally trying; it’s downright exhausting…but it is also very rewarding. I try each day to come up with at least one thing that I have done or used or seen or thought about that I am thankful for and I highlight that on my Facebook timeline. I admit there are times when it is difficult to find something but when I am struggling to come up with a topic, it also makes me realize just how much I have and how truly blessed I am. Today, I want to share with you why I’m thankful that I’m a caregiver.
- I am able to give back
Lynn has done so much for me since we have been married. He is my #1 cheerleader. When he was able, he kept our house and cars in working order but that was just a task. He was also the best chef that has ever cooked for me (I really miss that because I don’t like to cook). But more than anything, he was there to share with me in good times and bad times; in fun times and stressful. He gave totally and completely to me and now I can give back—not that I didn’t before, but now it is with focus.
- I am able to have some control of this situation
One of the most difficult emotions for me is feeling out of control. I cope better when I feel like I have some control over what is happening. By being his caregiver, I have the ability to control how well he is cared for; I know what he needs, when he needs it, and he likes it done. I can decide how to manage situations in the best interest of us both. I don’t have to call someone else and hope they are actually paying attention and really telling me the truth. I don’t have to worry that he has been ignored or that he is hiding anything from me to spare my feeling—I KNOW what’s going on with him and that knowledge makes my life easier.
- I am able to share in the two minutes or less joyful moments
I have a very dry sense of humor and Lynn has a silly one. Together, we can encounter a situation and between the two of us often one or the other has a slanted view of what’s happening, shares that perspective and we share a good laugh. Our sense of humor allows us to face the challenges without taking them too seriously and helps to take the edge off the sharpness of our lives. I enjoy those breaks from the seriousness of life and if I was not taking care of him, I would miss those.
- I have been able to share my caregiving experiences with others and been blessed by their feedback
Since I have begun to blog about being an MS Caregiver, I have “met” many others who are also sharing in the experience of “having MS” through the eyes of our loved one. We each have negative thoughts and emotions that are a natural part of coping with a very stressful situation and a high demand on our physical and emotional energy. It’s not always a good idea to share those negative emotions with the person being cared for….but they need to come out somewhere. Being able to share and feel “me too” when I read about someone else’s experiences keeps me from feeling as alone. Others have shared that reading about my situation has helped them as well.
- I have an enhanced sense of purpose
I have always had “purpose” but now that I am Lynn’s primary caregiver, I feel I have a calling. I feel that God has selected me for the privilege of taking care of one of his children. I feel that for now, my purpose is to make Lynn’s life as comfortable as possible and to fulfill my marriage vows of “in sickness and in health.” I know that God will give me the strength I need to do that when I need it and when I’m all used up, he will renew my strength. I never have to wonder, “Why am I here.” Iknow.
I have much to be thankful for—my family, my faith, my health, my job, my church, my friends, my home and the list goes on and on, but right near the top of that list is that I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve and care for my husband. I’m thankful to be his caregiver.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We want to check in. How are you feeling?