Monday, September 28, 2015

Caregiver Confidential

"Answer my prayers, O Lord,
for your unfailing love is wonderful.
Take care of me,
    for your mercy is so plentiful." (Psalm 69:16)

My wife's voice was soft and quiet. You could hear the weariness and desperation in her words.

 “I don't always know how to ask for help.”

Seventeen long years as the mother of a child with profound special needs requiring around the clock care takes a toll.

And now, I lay in the ICU with a life threatening illness and facing a long recovery.

She is beyond exhausted, and teetering on being overwhelmed by it all.

She is torn between her son’s constant needs, and her husband's. She has no time or energy for her own needs. Don’t tell her she needs to do something for herself, that is no help to her. She is simply in survival mode. The two most important people in her life require her constant attention, often at the same time.

She feels trapped in her situation, while outside, life marches on for typical families. She would be lying if she said it didn’t make her jealous, envious, and sometimes resentful.

Only other caregivers can truly grasp and comprehend the harsh realities of a caregiver. I asked her to share what she experienced and what had she learned.

Here are her thoughts. 

  1. Compassion fatigue is very real and very draining. Compassion fatigue takes a toll emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and physically.
  2. A little appreciation goes a long way. Simple acts of kindness and thoughtfulness carry a significant blessing to a caregiver. 
  3. Telling her she needs to do something for herself does not help,  it just puts more pressure on her.
  4. Caregivers don't always know how to ask for help. Or even what to ask for.
  5. Caregivers have to fight to avoid being jealous of others whose lives go on seemingly without challenges.
  6. The ones she thought would be there to help were not. But others she did not expect to help were there for her. She learned a lot about the essence of true friendship. But God is also using this experience to teach and reveal so many things to her. Even in the midst of the storm, he sees her.

She has learned what it means to be a true friend, and how even a small gesture of help has a huge emotional return. It makes her lament times in the past where she perhaps could have been a better friend, and makes her more determined to be there for her own friends in the future.

She is more perceptive and attentive to the little “God moments” that happen every day in our lives that we often take for granted or fail to appreciate. She has seen that God will send people, thoughts, and moments into your life all through out the storm to remind you of his presence and his provision.

Finally, she longs more than ever for the promise of heaven. For no more tears, no more pain, no more sorrow, and no more sickness and illness. She longs for Jesus to, as he says in his own words, "make all things new."

She longs for the day we can all go home.

"I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.[a]He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:3-4)

 PRAY: "Father give us eyes to see when others need the same mercy and grace from us that we receive from you. And teach us to love as you first loved us."

--Jeff Davidson

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful- poignant. Thank you for sharing! I want to be more aware of those around me who are struggling in silence. May the Lord bless and keep you in His care and sustain you.