September 07, 2020 (c) by jas
Contributor and Guest Author, Andrea René Williams
As part of a Facebook Caregiving Group, today’s Guest Author, Andrea René Williams, former caregiver for her mother, posted this list of things she wished she had thought about during that period of her life.
As a caregiver, I know I am always wondering if I could do better, could do more, could have been better prepared. Andrea collects her thoughts here so we can incorporate them now into our ongoing caregiver lives—regardless of the illness our loved one has!
As well, as a former caregiver, Andrea is an accomplished and vibrant musician, as you can see from her Facebook page. . .she is about beautiful music! She has embraced her special gifts to the fullest as evidenced by her achievements as an Award-Winning Recording Artist, Singer, Songwriter, Pianist, Producer, Engineer, and Former GRAMMY Mgr.
I am thrilled to have found her words of wisdom to share! Thank you, Andrea, for being a part of our Caregiver Chain of Care.
It is an honour to post Andrea’s words here for you to read! My hope is that, you will share her post so we can send her words around the world for other caregivers to read. I am grateful for her permission to share her thoughts as written on her caregiver support page.💕
Read and be inspired by this beautiful soul. ~jas
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Maybe I could have…
by Andrea René Williams
“It may be helpful to some of you who are also caregivers. My 21-month caregiving ended a couple of months ago when my mother passed away. Since that time, I have thought about ways I could have done things better or been more prepared for the role I took on. I hope this is helpful.
1. Never make the person you’re caring for your entire world. You have a life that’s beautiful and it’s separate from theirs.
2. Share the responsibilities of caregiving. Depending on the situation, it may be too much for you – or any one person – to handle.
3. Find a friend, confidant and preferably another caregiver that you can share with. On days when things get rough, it’s good to have someone who understands.
4. Don’t be afraid to step away when the situation becomes overwhelming. Listen to music, take a walk or do something relaxing to ease your mind. In these situations, I have found prayer invaluable.
5. Be honest with your feelings of sadness, disappointment, fear or anger and deal with them appropriately. Finding a therapist may be a good option.
6. Take care of your health. Make it a daily priority to do things that are healthy for your body, mind and spirit. Do not jeopardize your health in your role as caregiver.
7. Accept the fact that you are limited in your ability to take away someone else’s pain or to heal them. Although you can assist (as can health care professionals, medications, surgeries, etc.), true healing belongs to God. As painful as it is, you may have to accept that your loved one may never be healed.
8. Realize that if your loved one’s health diminishes, more may be required of you. But never let it get to the point when it drains you physically or emotionally.
9. Take time for yourself. Make a list of things that bring you joy and make sure to do 3 of those things per day. Do them without guilt or shame.
10. Don’t carry the burden of your loved one’s illness. Do all you can to make things better for them, but don’t let it diminish the quality of your life.
11. Accept the fact that illness can change a person’s personality. Although some of what you may experience is not directed at you personally, don’t stay in a situation where you are a victim of emotional or physical abuse.
12. Know that one day your caregiving will end. Plan your life (after caregiving) prior to that time. Don’t become so consumed with their present that you neglect your future; you will have a future. Prepare yourself physically, emotionally and financially and refrain from becoming entirely dependent on the one you are providing the caregiving to.
13. Make sure that you enjoy the blessing of life.”
During my discussion with Andrea, about sharing her insights, she mentioned one other time following her caregiving experience. I want to share her sweet memory as she spoke with her mother:
Andrea: “Send me butterflies”.
Andrea: “When you leave here, send me butterflies.”
“That was part of a conversation I had with my Mom on Friday, June 12th. Little did I know then, the next day, I would have to call 911 and have her taken to the hospital. On Sunday, June 14th, my Mom went into cardiac arrest. She was resuscitated after 5 minutes, but after a hopeless diagnosis (and her telling me on Saturday that she wanted to die), I took her off life support on the following day.
In the 3 weeks since my Mom has been gone, I haven’t felt her presence like I did with my Dad after he left. But my Mom, unlike my Dad, had a quiet, unassuming way about her. But I still wanted to feel her near me. I buried her yesterday and today is the first birthday without her. I took a walk today and this butterfly, a beautiful Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, hovered around me. For 15 minutes, he circled me countless times. When I sat down, he fluttered to the ground. When I got up, he flew. Even if he would fly away a few yards, he would immediately fly right back to me. I have never experienced anything like it. On the day that I would really miss her the most, my birthday, my Mom really did send me butterflies. “
Maybe I could Have. . . (c) 2020 Andrea René Williams
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Each day do something to make others smile and your heart sing!
Copyright © 2020 Judith Allen Shone
Accepting the Gift of Caregiving, Part One and Part Two,
Both books in the caregiving series, “Is There Any Ice Cream?” and “Did You Hide the Cookies?”, are available to be ordered from local bookstores, or online from your favourite bookseller.
Begin with Amazon.ca . . .