EVER IMAGINE YOU WOULD BE THE CARE GIVER?
I have been a care giver for years, only never gave myself that title. Until recently!
As a young mother I was definitely a care giver ( and enjoyed it) to their constantly growing people we created.
I also was responsible for my Great Aunt. She did not live with us but I was the one who took care of all
her needs and had the joy of including her in all our family events.
When my dad was sick and dying I was the closest child and helped him with household tasks, much to
his frustration as he felt his independence changing.
And there were friends, neighbors I would help through difficult times. And joyfilled times of new babies, moves, parents' aging.
I always assumed that is what one did. I never though of it as a job.
We help each other, support each other in challenging times and good time.
My life has taken a pivot - a large pivot. My husband has begun dialysis and I am training to be his care giver when we graduate from training and begin dialysis at home. This is major. The medical side is all new and as I tell the nurse, I chose not to go to medical school but beileve I am about to complete my MD, RN, PA, CEO and hospital administrator degrees. And it is for someone I love. This compounds the work as I'm not putting needles in a patient or stranger - it's my lover, my best friend, my husband. And I better do it right!
And the changes in our home. Furniture gets moved. New equipement arrives almost daily. Medical supplies must be stored. The guest room (once a child's room until we became empty nesters!) is now the medical center. I may paint a red cross on the door! We are glad we have the room to do this and still have other areas in our house with no sign of medical debris.
I am sharing this because THE LAST GIFT BOX has taken me on a journey I never imagined. I have received numerous note and emails from people who bought the book, attended a workshop or heard me speak at a conference sharing their pleasure in having a way to begin the discussion with those they love about their life choices ,and a road map to getting things in order so everyone is aware of what the plan is. I though that would be my new mission. And it is.
It has now expanded and I am asking all of you Gifters for ideas. Prior to my husband's new medical status, I had begun a Care Givers Support Group, a way for people to discuss the issues that come up in THE LAST GIFT BOX and a safe place to discuss how difficult this work is. It has been an exciting addition to the LAST GIFT BOX journey and I did not realize I would gather ideas, information and support for ME from the care givers. I am one. I had to see that change in what I am doing. It is one more experience that gives me even stronger determination to have people discuss what they want in life and in death. I am living my message - talk to those you love about what you want. Think about what is important to YOU as you live your one wonderful life. What brings you joy? Who are your friends?
Do not assume your doctor knows what you value unless you tell him/her.
And there are numerous ways to do this care giving. I am asking you to share with me - and other gifters - any hints you may have. I do believe we make a chose to get up each day and find the beauty in this day, even when it is hard. I am not willing to let my disappointment, grief or fear dominate my time. It could. It comes to visit. But I will not allow it to nest in my mind. I try to experience care giving as another gift in our relationship, another way to explore my strengths and weaknesses.