As you might know I am an “informal caregiver” (also called voluntary or family caregiver) for my wife. She is bound to wheelchair and bed basically and needs help with some of the things “we healthy” people take for granted like getting washing/showering, getting dressed, getting to the toilet, cleaning, cooking.. well basically all the things you do in and around the house. Of course the household things, well I think there are a lot of mothers out there that have to do them alone as well. You want your house clean and tidy, you want clean clothes and nice food. Shopping has to be done and so on and so on.
However living with a disabled person takes of course much more of you then just the household chores. Like I said, there are the hygiene parts as washing and going to the toilet. There is traveling of course, where ever she wants to go she will need me to get her there. Since we don’t have a car we are depending on walking and public transport. Going to a café or restaurant is a crime because in my town many of the good places are not accessible for people in a wheelchair because it is either to small or it is not based on “ground floor” (you might remember I told about the “wharfs” we have along the canals, they can’t often be reached by wheelchair.
Of course I do this gladly for her, after all when we married I promised her “in good and bad times, in sickness and health” right?. However this leaves me little time for myself. Even when writing a blog for example, or playing a game there is always things that come in between. I guess it is something that other caregivers will be familiar with as well.
However every one needs time for him/herself and it is important to find a way that you have that time. For me that time is during “the walk”
Several nights a week I go to “my bro” to have a laugh, play some games together or just have a talk. Since I live in a small town I always go by foot and it takes me about 30 minutes to get there. When I am walking I am free, I am alone with my thoughts and I can wind down a bit. I might be thinking about my next blog (of which 90% never sees the light of day funny enough), I might be just enjoying the weather. Since I live next to a big canal I often sit down at the water for a while looking at ships passing by or children playing. The walk for me is the most important time of the day. it is an hour (I have to get back home again also of course) that is mine alone in which I can be myself without having to consider others.
Are you a caregiver with similar issues? what is your “walk”, do you take enough of those walks? Remember, if you have the full time care of someone that it is very important to have this time. If you currently do not have it, make it a point to create it. It doesn’t have to be a walk, you can go shoot some pool if you like to do that or go swimming. However make it something that you can do in the limited time you have and that it is something you like to do very much. It is in the best interest of yourself and those you take care off.
“Happiness is an attitude. We either make ourselves miserable, or happy and strong. The amount of work is the same.”
— Francesca Reigler
Following is for all the caregivers out there. Thank you for what you do.
© 2011 Red Granite Goddess ASCAP
I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
The rollercoaster you’ve been on with me.
And for the times I’m not easy.
I am sorry.
There’s a blessing in heartache.
There is love beyond pain.
I take nothing for granted.
And I’ll never be the same.
For Caring for me.
You are my family.
It’s not easy feeling broken.
But I want the word to see.
How you have cared for me.
I wish you could see what I see
As you prepare for the worst.
Wish you could know that I know
How you silently hurt.
There’s a gift in the healing.
Though it doesn’t seem fair.
But now I can face anything.
Just knowing you are there.
For Caring for me.
For when despair becomes belief.
For all the promises you keep.
For all the words that I can’t speak.
Thank you for caring for me.
And Oh, you’re my anchor.
And Oh, you’re my solid ground.
And Oh, you’re my angel.
My heart is full beyond profound.
Thank You. Thank You.
For Carrying me.
For when your hope becomes your grief.
I get all the sympathy.
But I need this world to see.
To see you. And how you have cared
Guitar & Voice: Celia
Piano: Jonathan Best
Cello: Betsy Tinney