“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, saith the Lord,
thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
It is hard to image this statement to be true when you are living in the throes of caregiving for a critically ill loved one. Where is the peace? And is the expected end a good one? I will venture to say, yes it is.
In recent months I have observed a growing number of my dearest friends thrust into the unexpected role of caregiver. Contrary to common belief caregiving and their patient/loved one is not restricted to age. Some of the caregivers and their patient/loved one that I have recently met are as young as 30 yrs. and as seasoned as 90 yrs. Because of my work in HIV, you would assume that I am referring to caregivers to HIV patients. While you will be reading contributions from and for this group, the caregivers that I have been encountering are caring for patients challenged with everything from Cerebral Palsy, to various and/or rare forms of Cancers, Dementia, Alzheimer’s , hear t disease, HIV and sometimes a combination of the above. The list is endless.
Apart from the enormity of caregiving, the caregivers themselves are dealing with their own health challenges. Some are HIV positive, some have Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, etc., Their aliments are sometimes as lengthy as the patient. Now add to this, more than one patient. The image is: two patients, children, parents, a spouse etc. We won’t even touch on the financial obligations with or without insurance.
With stressor upon stressor, it is little wonder that statistically, increasing numbers of patients are out living their caregiver. With little to no time to themselves, caregivers find they have little to no time to cultivate or maintain friendships or build and maintain a spiritual foundation. Both are fundamental to their emotional health and wellbeing. We need one another during these seasons of caregiving.
Because of this need, this is the first of a series of monthly and sometimes bi-monthly submissions dedicated to caregivers. In these writings, we will share our joys, hurts, anger, fears, frustrations, and peace during this process of caregiving. In this “no judgement zone,” I invite you to lift one another up in prayer, share one another’s burdens, agree or disagree in love, and ultimately find peace albeit perhaps momentarily, in this God assigned role. Yes it is God assigned and you know He doesn’t assign us anything that He is not fully present in. More about that later, but now just read these words and see if any of this applies to you. As you read this and other writings know that we need to hear from you. I am only one small voice, but you are many with a plethora of experiences that we can all benefit from.
Executive Director Rosalind Worthy