Welcome to Caregiver Friday!!
I don’t know why, but as I got ready to begin this post I thought about Dr. Seuss. One of my favorite Dr. Seuss books is “Oh the Places You’ll Go”. It got me thinking about travel but then I began thinking about travel different from a destination and more about travel as it relates to our own internal journey.
As a caregiver I’m sure you can attest to the whirlwind trip you’ve been on since the person you care about has been diagnosed with a chronic or other life-altering illness. It’s not only about the physical places you go like to the doctor’s office, pharmacy, and lab, but the internal places you go.
If you’re not sure what I mean let me tickle your memory for a moment and begin with the place of shock and maybe horror when you learned of your loved one’s illness. Perhaps you entered the land of The Zombie where you were a bit numb and somehow still tried or managed to navigate through your world, but not fully present. Then of course, for many or most caregivers, comes the role of the organizer, planner, and protector (am I getting close yet?)
These are all places you’ve gone and we haven’t even begun to think about all the places you’ll go like the joy or relief you may feel if your loved one gets better or well. You might enter the anxiety free zone when your loved one finishes treatment and there’s a few minutes to catch your breath before you realize that it will be years before an oncologist will tell you your loved one is “cured”.
For many of the caregivers I’ve worked with over the years, the internal journey begins when they tell their story. There is something about sharing your journey that not only validates the time, effort, energy, love, and compassion you put into caregiving; but the spiritual journey requiring faith that you’ll be able to wake up tomorrow and do the caregiving thing once again with full awareness.
Everything in life will not be a Dr. Seuss book. My hope is that you keep track of your journey on all levels, the physical, emotional, and spiritual places you venture since your loved one’s diagnosis. Allow yourself the time and the space to explore these unearthed places that you may never have accessed had your loved one not been diagnosed with a health challenge.
It’s a time of reflection, but it’s also a time of action. It’s a time of questioning, and of examining your level of trust and faith. It’s a time of the unknown as it pertains to your loved one, but it’s also a time of knowing as your explore your own interior world.
I’d love to hear about the places you’ll go…send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know the places you travel on the physical world and your interior world; I’d love to be your co-pilot!