Time and care ...
Time gets away.
The hours tick minute by minute.
My life ?
There are hours that drag by, one slow heartbeat at a time.
Then, there are hours that somehow grow wings and fly with such force that is scares me at times.
Maybe it’s that way for all of us ... but lately, it seems either one extreme or the other for me.
And it’s like I either get so many things accomplished that it amazes me -
Or I am so far behind that I can only hang my head in shame and despair.
Where is that middle ground that is more comfortable to walk upon?
I got sick on January 1 ... and here on February 10 - I am still struggling with the lasting effects of bronchitis and sinus congestion.
The fatigue has hit me hard as well.
At times, taking what feels like ALL my strength and energy to just get up and walk across the room before needing a moment to catch my breath.
To say that I don’t like this is probably the understatement of the year!
Little by little though ... moment by moment ... better and better.
I am determined to be better
To do better
To feel better.
Not ready to give up yet 😉
Work is still ... work.
I love our Miss Lady with all my heart.
Waiting to see who the next resident will be - hoping it will be a good friend for her.
- I know that the isolation and loneliness wears on her.
She talks of memory times when her and friends would get together for a meal, or a game of cards.
I know she misses those times so much.
With the weather being cold, as well as nasty some days, it’s hard for her to get out and about.
The sun shining thru the windows gives an impression of warm and spring time ... but the reality is a brutal force of cold wind blowing more than not.
I think sometimes that only deepens the loneliness and isolation.
As well as watching out the window and seeing peoples walk on the sidewalks, or driving on the roads.
All bringing memories to the surface of the mind and heart of days long ago ... and some days not so long ago as well.
Or maybe ... that’s just me ?
Working 48 - 72 hrs at a stretch, with no breaks in those hours, are getting to me more than I want them to.
It’s a lonely job.
It’s a job of isolation.
Yes, we watch movies and TV shows
Yes, we talk and we laugh
Yes, we listen to stories from one another.
But ... there is a growing restlessness within me.
Some on the days that I work ... but more on the off days.
When I don’t work.
When I sit here at the cottage - because so often when I am off, those that I would spend time with are working, busy with life schedules.
Factor in the exhaustion from being sick ... and being a caregiver = the total lack of energy and motivation to get up, get dressed, and go find someone to hang out with, or even something to do.
I know that caregiving is a much needed job.
It is mostly a thankless job.
Whether you are family or friend, or paid for the work.
It takes more out than what is replaced.
It means long hours, empty nights, tired bodies and exhausted emotions.
You lose social contacts - even social media contacts
You basically give up all forms of a “normal” life
The rate of burn-out is high.
And yes, I know that I am quickly approaching that burn-out phase.
I have been caregiving most of my life.
I started helping with Daddy and Momma when I was about 7 years old.
- that was the first year I remember doing anything more than my child chores.
Then, I married at 19.
- and for almost 35 years, I was Rick’s caregiver ... as much as he was mine.
- until the last 3 years of his life, when I became the 24/7 caregiver for him.
2 kids who made me a Momma - caregiver
Grandkids who came after those kids grew up and started their own families.
Years of working in the churches as youth ministers, deacon’s wife, associate’s pastor’s wife, pastor’s wife.
Many hours of caregiving going on in those years.
Helping with my Momma as her health declined.
Helping some with Rick’s family members in those years.
After Rick died, I worked as a caregiver to a friend whose granddaughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
And then, now ... working in this position at a resident home.
No regrets in giving of myself.
No sorrow in being a caregiver all these years.
The memories are held as treasures to my heart.
The stories I could tell 😉 ... I have, and I will yet more.
As it has been said many times by many authorities -
The caregivers suffer the most.
We give up a lot
We lose more.
People, even our families and friends, do not understand our level of devotion and care.
We hear that we do what we do for attention to ourselves
Or that we are nothing short of a martyr.
We are told that if we would only walk away, someone else would step in and take care
- perhaps they would ...
- but what if they don’t?
Just this week I read a story from CNN about a woman found sitting in her chair, 2 YEARS after she died.
How does this happen?
Because those in her life thought someone else was checking in on her, and promising themselves that they would soon.
Now, it is too late.
I have always known that I could not take care of everyone ... but those I could, I would.
But, we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should, while we are taking care of others -
Time does not often allow us to take care of our own selves, especially when those that can - do not step up, and in, to help
We put others always before ourselves
We will not allow our care - be it family, friend, or paying client - to suffer, or to be neglected.
We go without proper diet and nutrition
We go without proper activity - physical, mental and emotional
We do not take enough steps away to really even rest.
We let ourselves go -
For the good of those that we care for.
Or so it seems.
What we don’t realize, until it is either too late - or almost too late, making us question our sanity, and our abilities - is that we are emptying ourselves out
And if we don’t fill ourselves back up?
We are going to be empty
And basically, good for no one.
It’s getting close to that time for me to step away, or at least step into a different form of caregiving.
In all these years of my life - almost 61 now - I have poured myself out
To my family
To a job
Seldom asking much for me
Rarely spending much time or money on me
- and when I do, knowing that guilt for doing so
While Rick was alive, he would step in at times and say “Enough, it’s time for YOU!”
But in these years since Rick died, there is no one to take that step forward,
No one to intervene
No one to intercede.
So, here I sit, greatly feeling the heat of burn-out
Smelling the fires
Looking down and seeing some ashes about me.
That time is now ... before it is too late
That time of me.
That time for me.
To give some intense care to me.
I’ve been struggling with this idea and concept for the last 2 years, at least.
Trying to do so more and more ... and yet, feeling like it is more fail than victory.
You know, where you feel like you take 2 steps forward and like 100 back!
I have been working on reading more -
I used to be a voracious reader ...
In the last couple of weeks, I have finished one book that I was struggling with reading for at least 3 months, and then read 2 more!
Oh how I have missed reading!
I am determined not to miss it any more!!!
These 2 books that I have read, oh my!
Not just a good story -
But so much wisdom, clarity and insight that both of them gave to my heart and soul.
Talk about confirmations!!!
I will share more about that in coming blogs ;)
Also watching movies that for the most part, I have seen many times before -
But this time in watching them,
Really WATCH them,
LISTEN to the words that are said,
PAY ATTENTION to more details.
Again, I will share more about this in coming blogs ;)
I am realizing that while there is a lot of fight left in me,
There is also a lot of love left in me.
And of course, there are the fears,
The questions of can I do that? Can I be that?
I keep hearing Reba’s song, Is There Life Out There. .
I’ve done what I should
Should I do what I dare?
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here