Nasty little whispers had a way of burrowing into my thoughts while my husband and I cared for our very sick baby in the early 1980s. Those whispers, also known as lies, set up camp in my head, and drained me of the joy and purpose that keeps a caregiver going. Combatting those lies was nearly as big a struggle as keeping our son alive during the first 4 years of his life. Frankly, the nasty little whispers often beat me down battles during my days as a sleep-deprived, isolated, anxious young mom.
Our very sick baby is now a healthy man, and I have time to minister to caregivers. We connect rapidly and profoundly because despite our differing circumstances, we have much in common, including those nasty little whispers. As we talk, I often share 3 truths to silence 3 very common lies.
Lie #1: This Caregiving Season Is Forever
My father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis as a young man, when my siblings and I were very young. Our mother was his primary caregiver for 38 years, but we kids were part of his caregiving team throughout our childhoods and into young adulthood. More than once, we nearly bought into the lie that we would care for Dad forever.
Truth #1: This Caregiving Season Is Not Forever
Dad’s death dispelled the lie. Mom was 67, my sister, myself, and my brother were 44, 41, and 38. Suddenly, the forever of caregiving ended, and we had to move on. Caregivers who know this season will end–when their loved one recovers, when others share the caregiving duties, or with the death of the loved one or the caregiver–are more likely to handle this difficult transition in a healthy manner.
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