Monday, May 05, 2008

My name is Linda and I am...

...a caregiver.

I am in Florida right now doing my very best to take care of my mom, my best friend in the whole world who is battling brain cancer. I am amazed and so proud of her strength and her spirit and will to live.

I read some very uplifting words recently.

We all have lessons to learn throughout our lifetimes. Life evolves and sometimes our journey takes us through turbulent waters and other times the waters remain still. These journeys become a part of us and make us who we are. We are here to learn from one another and through these lessons we can heal our relationships and sometimes ourselves.

Becoming a family caregiver for someone you love is one of those heart wrenching and at times enlightening life lessons. Your role as a family caregiver can happen abruptly or creep in slowly-unnoticed until one day you realize you are caring more for someone else than you are for yourself.

You find yourself beginning to struggle with the day to day demands and somewhere along the way you realize you have lost your identity and have allowed the caregiving role to define who you are. Your new role as a family caregiver can become as frightening as the initial diagnosis. The journey can be a difficult when traveled alone; however, it does not have to be that hard and you do not and should not have to travel the road alone.

I am so blessed that I do not have to bear this burden alone and that I have the support of a wonderful husband and 3 amazing sons who have all gone above and beyond all of my expectations when faced with the challenges put before us lately. I am also blessed with friendships that I know will last for many years to come and with unexpected help from neighbors who have reached out to us when our lives are turned upside down.

I am blessed because I have...

Jim who is willing to give up his music studio in order to convert it to a bedroom if we bring mom to live with us. I know he will work tireless hours to also make the bathroom on the first floor of our house safe and accessible to mom.

Jesse who is there for his little brother this week while I am away from home. It is making this easier on me knowing that he is there to get his brother off to school in the morning and also after school when he doesn't have to be in class himself.

Robert who calls me to check on grandma as often as he can. I am thankful that he is no longer in harms way and finished up with his tours of duty over in Iraq. I know he is looking forward to coming home at the end of the year and being with his family again...Hawaii is such a far away place to be stationed.

Alex who is being such a brave and strong little boy while I am not home and have to be here in Florida to take care of his grandma. I remember the day before I left he was sad that he couldn't come with me and asked me to take a picture or video of grandma every day because he misses her so much.

Friends who know just what I need and when like a dear friend who just decided that I needed to see a concert at Jones Beach this summer and bought us tickets even though I may not even be home. Another who always knows just what to say because she has walked this path with her own mother and knows just what I am feeling.

Yes, I am blessed and even though things seem pretty hard right now I know in my heart that my Lord will not give me more than I can handle TODAY.

3 comments:

Just A Scrappy Gal said...

Linda, you amaze me with your strength! I know you are doing the very best thing you can for your mom and family at this hard time.

Many hugs and you all remain in my thoughts and prayers.

sandi said...

Lin...I am just in awe of your strength. I pray for you, and your mom and all your family every day, that you get through these difficult times. Hang in there, my friend.

Anonymous said...

Linda, your Faith and compassion will be the strength that holds you up and moves you forward. Your actions are done out of love and there is no greater strength than that. Your an amazing woman with a Spirit 20x the size of your physical body. My prayers are with you, you mother and your family every step of the way.

I love you my dear friend.

Mary