May is also Caregiver Appreciation Month – who deserves your thanks? For me it’s my sister, Lorraine, who is currently spending most of her days looking after our Mom. She is now Mom’s eyes, ears, hands, legs and advocate.
How do you thank someone for that?
With 3 siblings in 3 different provinces, she alone is left to lovingly care for our Mom. I literally cannot go back to help – stupid COVID.
Somedays Mom says she’s ‘ready to croak’ – somedays she says, ‘I don’t think I’m ready to croak’. Gotta love that woman’s humour – even in the most trying of times.
Other people want to help, but at the end of the day, it’s my sister who does 99% of the heavy lifting.
Wanting to help and being able to help are two different things.
‘Thinking about asking for help’ and actually ‘asking to get specific needs met’ – are very different.
Sometimes we don’t even know what we need.
Sometimes people don’t know what to offer.
Sometimes we are so buried under the rubble, we can’t see any light at all.
How do we save ourselves, then?
Caregiving is emotionally and physically draining, no matter how much you love the other person, or your job, every interaction takes a little bit of energy away from you. This could be elderly parents, your children, patients etc., even if you give the care willingly, tenderly, gratefully – it still takes a little piece of you.
Many of us are compassionate care champions; we bleed for other people so much it hurts but self-compassion is a whole different animal.
Today I ask you to reflect on three questions:
1) What is one self-compassionate thing that I will do for myself today?
2) What is one thing that I could ask for help with today? (Someone just ‘holding space’ for you may help.)
3) Who deserves my thanks today for the caregiving that they do?
(your daughter-in-law, your day-care provider, your parent)
Maybe it’s no accident that both Caregiver Appreciation Month & Mental Health Awareness Month fall in the same month?
Cheering for you as always, Steph