Posted in Caregiving

Angels in Training

Welcome to Caregiver Friday!

Why does it take catastrophe to get our attention?  We live in a crazy world and for some reason we believe everything should be smooth sailing.  We live with a false sense of security that can be breached at any moment, as you know so well.  The day your loved one was diagnosed with an illness the shattering began.

Taking on the role of caregiver/wellness partner is far greater than simply helping the person get through the day.  It reaches far past giving medication or transporting the patient to medical appointments.  It surpasses what many believe to be the status quo of compassion and understanding.  When you put all these together you get the qualities of guardianship, compassion, and love, all the things that make caregivers/wellness partners Angels-in-Training.

These actions are amazing when the person you’re caring for is a friend or family member.  When it’s someone you know there is a bit of expectation involved in the process.  What about if you didn’t know the person you were caring for, would it make a difference.

There have been studies that look at what happens to patients when they don’t know they are being prayed for by people they don’t know; isn’t that caregiving?  There are times when anonymous donations are made to individuals, families, even foundations to help those who need care, isn’t that caregiving?  Then there are the types of caregiving that put you in the trenches when tragedy strikes, testing your willingness to go beyond the call of duty.

This morning on NPR there was a human interest story on the survivors in Haiti.  The story was about a man whose family had survived the earthquake without death or major injury.  He feels blessed that his family was unharmed and they were all together.  Realizing that’s not the case for everyone he headed to a local make-shift hospital to sit with patients who didn’t have family members beside them.  I was moved by this angel-in-training’s ability to take such compassionate action in this great time of turmoil.  His ability to understand the importance of having someone who would support you through the darkest hours is the light that shines through.

You are an angel-in-training and I hope you can hold that sacred space for yourself as you support and nurture your loved one.  It’s important to remember that you don’t need a pair of wings to walk this earth as an angel.

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Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness

I Hear You Loud and Clear

Who do you listen to?  I mean who do you really listen to so keenly that their message pierces your soul?  I ask that question because people will say things to us that we think may be nagging or unsolicited advice and what the person is really doing is serving as an angel on earth.  The amazing thing is that the people who want you to know better and then do better are usually the people who love you the most and couldn’t imagine a world without you.

This morning there was an interview on Good Morning America with Marie Osmond.  I know what you’re thinking but the interview wasn’t too sugary.  She talked about the fact that her oldest child (she has eight) approached her on behalf of the herd and expressed his concern for her weight knowing that the family has a huge history of heart disease.  If that wasn’t enough, her mother told her, “Don’t do what I did, I’m trapped in a body I can’t use”, she suffered a stroke years earlier.

Can you imagine this type of messages coming at your from both ends of the life continuum?  Would Marie Osmond have heard the message if it only came from one end of the spectrum?  Would she have been able to take in the severity of the situation if these angels on earth werent’ as blunt as they were?  It’s amazing how important straight talk is when you want to pierce the armor of someone who may be well defended.  How thick is your armor?  What would it take for important messages to pierce your armor?  This is an important thing to know so that you can begin shedding the layers making the opportunity for the messages to get through easier. 

Who do you hear loud and clear?  Can you accept the messages with the love and good wishes that they are sent?  What messages have you heard loud and clear?  What messages have you offered to another in hopes of making an impact to awaken the health sense of another?  Keep trying, eventually this person you love will get the message!