I didn’t realize at the time, but I was raised to be a caregiver. In my youth, my parents were great examples. They not only took care of their children but also their aging parents. I went with my Dad many times to help his widowed stepmother do yard work or household repairs and we visited her often. At age twelve my maternal grandpa died and my mother checked on grandma daily. Mom made sure all of grandma’s physical, mental and emotional needs were met. She took Grandma to every family activity and most family trips. Great memories and love grew because of my parents care for grandma over her remaining twenty-one years.
I was in my thirties before I realized not all families had the means, patience and love to be caregivers to aging parents or disabled loved ones. I am grateful for their sacrifice and know that our family was blessed by their example. I have witnessed my four siblings being compassionate and attentive, not only to my parents and us, but anyone around them who might be in need.
Motherhood is another method of caregiving. My first experience started in 1982 when my son, Christopher was born. As a toddler he suffered with asthma and was hospitalized many times. He had to have breathing treatments two to three times daily. As all caring parents do, I wanted my child to have a happy and healthy life. My heart broke every time I watched him run with other children for only a short time and then struggle to breathe. This experience and other health issues enlarged my caregiving abilities.
In 1991 Mark and I were in a near-fatal car accident. Mark is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) survivor. He was comatose for three months and hospitalized for nine months. The TBI brought seizures so he has epilepsy also. He is wheelchair dependent and has had fourteen surgeries. This experience has amplified my caregiving capabilities.
I’m passionate about caregiving; nevertheless, at times I wonder how long I’ll have the strength and capacity to continue on this strenuous path. Fortunately, I have a wonderful support group in my family and friends. Because of my gratitude for each one of them, I want to reach out and help others. I know I can’t do it alone. I want to encourage and support others on their caregiving path no matter what level of intensity it may be. It’s the hardest, yet most rewarding, journey.
I enjoy reading inspirational and self-help books. I love learning new tips that make life easier. I appreciate quotes and have many around my house that inspire me to do better. I get pleasure and satisfaction out of writing and I’m a member of the American Night Writers Association and the League of Utah Writers. I’m writing a memoir titled, The Love of Two Lives based on “Our Story.”
The purpose for my blog is to encourage caregivers of all types; help manage stress and avoid burnout with personal “Stories“ – “Tips” and “Thoughts“. I hope you will share your stories, tips, and thoughts through “comments” at the end of each article.
Caregiving is hard work, nevertheless it is rewarding and joy is found in the journey.
My Secret – The reason I started writing this blog
Siblings by Chance, Friends by Choice – How I feel about my siblings
My Home Delivery – My unusual birth