A Caregiver’s life seems overwhelming at times. Most of the time, in fact.
Some of us try to juggle work and family and caregiving another relative, God help them. Others just try to make it through another day of being inside, sitting, trying to get a grip on what can be let go of, and what needs to be done.
It’s exhausting and all-consuming, caregiving. And at the end of it all? Grief swoops in.
I’m finding grieving different from caregiving. Less constant in its demands I thought. Grief not only comes and goes, but I’ve found it can disguise itself as some other emotion.
I thought because my husband’s health was in decline for so many years, my grieving process would be short, and not so intense. I didn’t break down sobbing at the funeral. I didn’t go home and weep over his clothes, his bed, his shoes. I just wanted everyone to go home so I could be alone in the flower-fragrant silence of my home. I wanted to be alone with thoughts of him.
And then suddenly seven months later I was overwhelmed with emotion. Emotion which I misplaced. It was like being on a roller coaster ride: what you tell people is a thrill is really terror. And I was not recognizing my fear. Life was suddenly entirely and only my responsibility. And I wanted to be safe. I desperately wanted someone to look after me. Like Chris had.
Fortunately friends, family and a group called Griefshare helped me sort it all out. Helped me see that I am grieving, deeply and furiously the loss of my husband of thirty years. And in starting a new relationship all I did was complicate the process. Hurt others.
Because I didn’t recognize, couldn’t own my grief.
Adam women are strong, Mom always used to say. I hope that’s true. I hope that like it says in the book of James, chapter 4, suffering builds endurance and character.
Just like knowing how your caregiving days are going to end doesn’t make the process any easier, knowing what James has said doesn’t make grieving any easier, either. But like caregiving, there is a sense of pride in honoring the process.
If you need help, like I did, contact your local Griefshare group-note, it is faith-based. Other alternatives? Contact your local hospice society or funeral home. They should be able to help you find a group that will fit your needs.