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Caring For Yourself -The Caregiver
Doing something for myself
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posted 08-27-2003 08:59 PM
I haven't introduced myself as it seems that putting everything down in words will be too hard to do. My name is Dawn and I am 22 years old. I am currently taking care of my dad (in my home) who is dying from Hep. C
My life has not been the same since December when my first child died during pregnancy. ( I only mention this because I was not "ready" to face another huge life challange. Then my dad got really ill in May. I took care of him for 5 weeks in his home, then he went into a nursing home during the summer, and now he is in my home. I feel like I have lost my identity in all of this. I used to be a student, an intern, have a job, and be a mom. Now I am a little bit of everything but nothing at all. Does that make sense? I dread the question "what do you do?"
Am I crazy for even concidering it? How can I make a commitment when I know my dad is only getting worse? How am I to take care of myself in all of this?
posted 08-29-2003 04:10 AM
Welcome ...I am particularly touched by your post and it is beautiful.. you have a keen sense of awareness of what you are missing and need to do for yourself during this time.
I think one of the most important things we as caregivers for our loved ones who are in end of life stages is to make sure we are living our own lives fully.. and while we become so committed and entrenched in caring for them, we do sometimes begin to lose our own identiy, our circle of friends and our lives are in an upheaval.
It is so important for us to take some time to re renergize ourselves during the caregiving process but so many of us think we are not caring fully if we do.. we must give ourselves permission to heal ourselves and nurture ourselves so that we can go the distance and be fully present for those we care for.
Couples with caring for your father, it also seems apparent that you are still mourning the loss of your child... did you get involved with any type of grief support program for yourself to help you to move through the loss? This too, may be something you would like to get involved with...
The swimming class sounds wonderful.. water can be healing and comforting.. the exercise of great value..
Wanting to get a job or volunteering is another way to get involved.. perhaps on a part time basis... something that will allow flexibility so that you can be there as you choose for your father. Is he in hospice at this point?
I will share briefly about my dad.. he knew and understood that I had given up work to help care for him.. and my mother as well as she had been in burnout from caring for him on her own... his greatest wish was for me to continue doing things I loved and to begin work again... On the evening before I was to start a new job my father beamed with pride, although he was in pain... and was so ecstatic that I was doing something for myself... on the day that I started the new job, his body had begun to close down. I had only been working for two hours when I received a phone cfall telling me I had better come quick. Fortunately my employer new that this might happen when I was hired so he was extremely supportive... my father transitioned later on that evening.
I think if there is love and balance in our relationship with our loved one we are caring for, they would truly want us to do what we need to live our own lives more fully... we cannot put our own lives on hold fully or we just exist... allow yourself to breathe fully... and do what makes you feel good.. I have a strong sense, your dad would want you to... please keep us posted... blessings on your journey..
posted 09-10-2003 08:51 PM
Ahhh my...you are so young..and faced with such things...I can understand so much how you want to be out and about more...
All times are ET (US)
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