As I was talking with someone about why I do what I do just a few weeks ago, I realized a reason that I had kept buried and was unaware of – at least on the surface.
My dad is my why. I can remember my dad coming home from my grandmother’s (his mother), who lived next door, tired, hungry and just wanting to spend time with my mom and me. He is just walking through the back door and grandma calls. He has to go back.
My mom didn’t tell me this until I was older, but my dad was taking my grandmother’s prescription pain medication – for who knows how long. After my grandmother passed away, dad finally went to his doctor for the pain. It was too late and the cancer was too far gone.
Reflecting back on this and on what I’ve noticed with caregivers, is that caregivers put themselves ‘dead last’. I’ve heard that term before and just got it now. Jesus.
My dad is only one of the caregivers that I have known that put their physical health last for their parents, loved ones, children.
What I know is this – if you are reading this, your loved one is well cared for. They are good. I say this because I know you, the reader. You put yourself last. You are focused on making sure that your loved one has everything they need. What if you put that same focus on yourself? Go ahead. Your loved one is good because I know the high degree to which you care for them. Even if guilt is trying to overtake you.
“Caring for them is all consuming,” someone has said. It can be if you let it. What would it take for you to take care of you?
What if you said, now hang in here with me here, “no” to them sometimes? And not saying the word to them, unless you need to, and saying no in your mind to them?
For an example, say your mom says she needs tea. She’s out. Instead of dropping everything and running to the store, say that you will get it for her, and do not rush out to the store to buy it. Add it to your grocery list and next time you go to the store, get it. Now that you’ve done that, you’ve freed up some time for yourself. What will you do with that time – for you?
What will you say no to so that you can say yes to yourself?
Remember that you are doing your best – and are also going above and beyond for your loved one.
P.S. I am on a mission to empower 10,000 individuals that are up to their eyeballs in caring for an aging loved one to continue being themselves without guilt and stand in their power using coaching and a simple step-by-step path. Join us at The Caregivers Collective www.facebook.com/groups/caregiverscollective/