I have been struggling.
It’s not new, certainly not unique, and I will find myself here again. Caregiving is the way we love those we love. We give because we can. We give because we must. We give because the health and welfare of those we love is as important as our own. It is tribal. It is the village’s obligation. It is a sacred rite. It is worship.
Ego Amo Illic (I love, therefore, I am)
Making peace with caregiver’s guilt and frustration means practicing active self-care, which often looks like walking away, not throwing the tantrum. It is about you, as caregiver, but not principally. It’s not principally about you.
Last Sunday morning, I wept through service.
I wept because I was weary. I wept because my spirit could sense the battle just ahead, even if my knowing mind could not. I wept because weeping is an urgent form of prayer I actively practice during certain periods of my life.
Those who know me well know I have many prayer practices, each for their season. It is a consistency of sorts; I pray without ceasing. It is the nature and substance of those prayers that match their seasons and their circumstances.
On that day, I found this. Sister Carole Kimes, of The Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary of the Woods ministers to caregivers as a hospice nurse. Her words speak to my weary spirit at a time when I need to be tended to, from far away, with just the right message.
God of Love,
…as a caregiver, I need the grace to be loving even when I do not love all that I am asked to do. It is extremely difficult to watch the one I love slowly lose their ability to care for self and to witness their pain of illness. More is demanded of my time and sometimes there just doesn’t seem to be enough of that in the day to tend to all that needs to be done. Help me prioritize my day with being present to my loved one as I care for their needs and wants. Ultimately, at the end of the day when I lay my head on my pillow, I want to say I lived this day with love.
This prayer spoke to me, and I will keep it close. For this time. For the next time. For all my times. For yours…
Remember, self-care is sacred work. It is not a luxury, it is a necessity. For you, and also for those you love.
As I prepare for rest and Sabbath, this is my prayer. Selah and Amen