It’s what we do.

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Today is the last day of November. It is also the last day to recognize caregivers. November is the designated month to celebrate the caregivers in our lives.

And much like what it can feel like to be a caregiver, the month went by with little recognition. And that is okay.

Most of us don’t do it for the praise, or the pat on the back. We certainly can’t say we do it for the money or the fame. We do this for someone we care about, someone we love.

But, for just a moment, I want to give you a peek inside the life of a caregiver.

• We get interrupted sleep, and we seldom (if ever) sleep a full 8 hours.

• We eat our meals last, or even standing up, in a rush to move onto the next check item on our to-do list

• We juggle so many things at once, we have a hard time focusing.

• We coordinate, organize or rearrange our schedule to take care of everyone else.

• Sometimes, we want to think of ourselves, but then feel guilty for it.

• We worry…all the time.

• We sometimes feel overwhelmed at the responsibility of caring for another.

• We have a rash of emotions that spread over us quickly, and yes, sometimes they might seem irrational. Don’t worry, the feelings dissipate quickly.

• Showers become the only private time we get to ourselves…

• We are the advocate, and the voice and the warrior for the person we care for.

• We have moments of selfishness, of wanting to not to have to think of, or put another person over ourselves all the time.

• We remember how much we love the person we are caring for, and somehow, all those emotions, and the weight of what we do seems less heavy for just a while.

• We often feel alone.

• We cry in the shower because the sound of the water washes our tears and drowns out our anguish.

• We smile through the irritations, or frustrations…and yes, even through the pain.

• We can’t imagine not trying so hard.

• We live with guilt over not being enough…every.single.day.

• We know that this role we play won’t last forever.

• We hate being told it’s not about us….

• We get irritated when others try to give us advice but have no real-life experience with the same situation.

• Seeing our loved one smile can make the frustrations and hardships more bearable.

• We would still make this choice, if it means just one more day with those we love.

Remember, you will either be a caregiver or need a caregiver at some point in your life.

If you know a caregiver, show some empathy and compassion. It’s a tough job.

If you need a caregiver, show some empathy and compassion, it’s a tough job!

 Matthew Wild

I grieve…

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The sound of his heel hitting the metal stopped me.  I looked down and noticed it just dangling there.

Every morning, I maneuver a sling around his body.  And every morning, I use a machine called a hoyer lift to lift him from the bed to the wheelchair.  And every morning, he wiggles and tries to adjusts himself in his chair to make himself more comfortable…

Except this time.

This time, he had to ask me to lift his foot up onto the foot plate.  This time, I noticed he couldn’t do it himself.

I suppose in some small way, it doesn’t seem like all that big of a deal, right?  I mean, it’s simply me bending down and lifting his foot to sit on a metal plate. I put both feet next to each other, and grab his blanket, and wrap it around his legs..

and I say, “Is your foot gone?”

It felt as if I had asked him if his appendage had died.  And I am…that is exactly what I am doing.  I am asking him if another part of his body had died..given out..become so weakened that he can no longer move it…And I couldn’t bare to look him in the eye as I asked this.  Instead, I fussed with straps and wires, and tucking in and lifting…I kept my eyes down and my hands busy.

“Yeah, I think its a goner!”

I look up and slap a smile on my face and I try to ignore the pain I feel deep in my chest.

And I grieve again.

I grieve for his losses, as well as my own.  I grieve every time, and I know its depressing. I know it is hard for others to look,

to watch,

to read,

to learn.

And I refuse to apologize for it!

Because I think everyone needs to know how strong this man is.  I think everyone needs to know how immensely humbled I am to see him live each day, with less and less ability to move, and needing more and more help with each and every task, yet he refuses to complain. He refuses to say, “Why me?” and he refuses to ask for more than he needs.

So…

To the person who posted this response on my Facebook page,

Jesus Theresa, why would you even post this?

If you read my blogs…

My response to you is this:

Because it is breaking my heart to watch this and be so completely helpless…

So I grieve…

every…day…