First, this is HARD! When a loved one is ill, it seems selfish to take care of one’s self. There are a multitude of feelings that arise, while trying to care for a terminally ill parent, spouse, child or friend.
Outside people don’t seem to understand, yet they are a life line to keeping self alive. There’s always the nagging question, “Am I doing enough?” And with that, you give and give and give. . .
I think the part that is missed is that we cannot help another person, without taking care of ourselves. If we give and give and give, our health begins to fail us. Our perspective gets sucked into the situation, and we slowly withdraw from the world.
It’s a slow downward spiral, that consumes our very soul. It saps us of life, energy and vitality. It’s important to replenish one’s self, by taking care of self. There shouldn’t be guilt associated with it, though many of us are raised to feel it in this situation.
“How can anyone understand what it means to watch someone you love deeply slowly die?”
In truth, we cannot. We can offer empathy, a sympathetic ear, or a shoulder to cry on. We are the support network, when it gets so dark that the light at the end of the tunnel disappears. The people directly involved with the illness and care-giving need us to be there.
So, how does one take care of themselves through an emotional time such as this?
Every person on the planet requires time for their own thoughts. When care-giving for another, those times are usually spontaneous in nature. It’s the brief moment when stepping out into the sunshine for a break, or smelling the roses in the garden.
Keeping perspective of the situation is paramount, and trust your gut instinct. Sometimes, it takes a friend/family member to just listen, as you talk out the choices that need to be made. And. . .keeping faith and a positive attitude helps both you and the ill loved one. . .
Just remember, the friends and family calling may not understand, but they do care about both parties in this situation. . .
More later. . .
Love & Light to All. . .Karen