Find a Caregiving Buddy to Lighten the Load
Caregiving can be a lonely journey. Having a caregiving buddy––someone who understands and will laugh and cry with you can make the burden feel a little lighter.
Last fall I met Hannah, a wiry little woman who appeared to be in her late 70’s. She came up to me on a break and said, “I want to tell you my story.”
Hannah’s husband has dementia, and she has been taking care of him and their small farm for over ten years. Earlier in the week, a storm had toppled an enormous pecan tree on their property.
She said, “It blocked the path to my chickens, so I went out to the shop and got the chainsaw. It took me all afternoon, but I finally cut a chunk out of the trunk large enough for me to walk through.”
As I was trying to visualize this tiny older woman wielding a chainsaw, she continued her story. She said, “My husband sat on the back steps watching me the whole time. When I finally finished and walked back up to the house, he shook his head and said, “Boy! It sure was a lucky thing that I wasn’t out here when that tree fell!”
Hannah said, “Oh, Honey, if that tree had fallen on you, I would have gone into the house, poured myself a glass of wine, and then I would have called 911.”
Hannah’s husband continued looking at the tree trunk thoughtfully, and said, “Yep. That sure was a lucky thing.”
After Hannah got her husband tucked into bed that night, she called Angie, her best friend, who is also a caregiver, and shared the story. Angie laughed and said, “If that tree had landed on him, I suspect you would have downed that first glass of wine, and then you would have gone out to check on him. If he’d still been twitching, you would have gone back in and poured another glass!”
Hannah and Angie both howled with laughter.
I don’t think for a minute that Hannah would have left her husband under the tree while she drank a glass of wine. But having a caregiving buddy to laugh with––someone who understands the heartbreak and the stress of caring for a loved one whose brain is dying, helps Hannah find the emotional strength to do what needs to be done.
If you are caring for a loved one at home, I hope you will find a caregiving buddy you can talk to on a regular basis. Nothing will make this journey easy, but having someone who will share it with you could make your load feel just a little bit lighter.
If you have a comment, question, or story you would like to share; I would love to hear from you. Please contact me by writing in the “Comment Box” below or send me an email at Elaine@EKSanchez.com.