(Note – names have been changed for privacy purposes)
The other day at work our first patient of the day was a lovely woman I’ll call Rosie. Rosie was in for cataract surgery and was very cheerful and cooperative with all of the staff. She sweetly kept saying “Thank you,” for all the care we gave her. As we got her ready for surgery, I was close enough to her to hear the conversations she was having with each one of us as we took turns checking on her. My heart broke for her when I heard her story. Rosie commented how, “Dr. Stone wanted me to have this surgery several years ago. But I was busy for five years taking care of my daughter who had cancer.” Rosie continued, “My daughter finally passed away. I miss my daughter so much.”
My heart breaks for Rosie, not only because she lost her daughter to cancer, but because she was a caregiver to her daughter and was so consumed with the care that she neglected eye surgery for herself. Bless her for taking care of her daughter, but to not take care of her own precious eyes and the ability to see!
According to the National Alliance for Caregiving, “more than 65 million people – 29% of the U.S. population – provide care to a family member.” That’s a whole lot of caregiving. The caregiving includes care to dependent children, elderly parents, disabled spouses, and many more. With the high cost of hiring care – more and more families are being called upon to take care of their own. Being a caregiver comes with sacrifice. Caregivers will deny themselves medical care and time for their own pleasurable activities because of lack of time and money to spend on themselves. Oh boy – that can be so very self-destructive. How can a caregiver give care if they are not taking care of themselves? Pretty soon the caregiver will need a caregiver!
My book, Amanda, Perfectly Made, is subtitled, “A Caregiver’s Journey.” It speaks from the heart of extreme caregiving. It tells the pretty and the not so pretty. If you are not a caregiver, you may be called to do so in the future. Maybe you know a person who is a caregiver. Maybe you need to understand more of what they go through.
Christ calls us to show compassion to others. It is part of what we are called to do. Some are more gifted than others in this area. That’s okay. But caregivers need to take time for themselves. Even Jesus, when he was the most burdened with His ministry, would take time away to rest and refresh.
I have become acquainted with a wonderful website: www.caregiving.com that speaks to all kinds of caregivers as well as offering tons of resources and networking that is available for all situations. If you need some insight or know someone who does, please check it out.
1 John 3:16-17 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?
Job 6:14 Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.