Are you a reluctant caregiver? There is always a moment in time, when, as a family caregiver, we question ourselves about the ability to continue on our caregiving journey. Many of my readers, often find themselves questioning their faith.
In my Senior Caregiver support group, I met Veronica Badowski, a caregiver and author. I asked Ronnie to please share with me what her experience was and why she was compelled to write her book –Treading Water with God, Lessons in Love While Care Giving
I think you will find her response refreshingly honest and touching.
Imagine you are enjoying a ride in a little sail boat when a powerful gust of wind overturns it, making it sink immediately. There you are in the deep water of a large lake without a life preserver, treading water to stay afloat. Your only option is to pray like crazy for strength and begin to slowly swim toward shore. This scary scenario is the metaphor I use to describe how I felt during the nine years I took care of my two invalid, elderly parents at home.
Let me be clear right from the beginning, it is only through God’s provision and faithfulness I was able to continue this work. Because He called me to be a caregiver, He also provided me with a caring husband who was willing to help me with my parents and a loyal assistant. Without these two people, there was no way I could have done it alone. Also He gave me guidance and wisdom, especially when my parents were ill and I had to make life or death decisions.
Even though I loved my parents very much and had adequate assistance, I never seemed to be at peace with the commitment. I often wished it was over sooner rather than later. This is why God reminded me repeatedly to have a positive attitude and stop complaining. When I listened to Him, I went about my chores with a lighter heart and more energy.
It was easier for me to find peace on warm summer days when my parents and I would sit on the deck of our house, listening to the birds with light rock playing on the radio. It was pleasant taking my parents to church, stopping for ice cream cones on our way back from a doctor’s appointment, and visiting our family an hour away. These moments of joy made life worth living for all of us.
For the more difficult times, my caregiver mantra became, “God is orchestrating everything!” But I still needed reminders to hold onto my faith. One example is the night I was extremely upset how things were going with my mother’s care at the hospital. She had severe dementia which meant she was unable to fend for herself, making me worry even more. My dear husband quietly said, “God will take care of her.” It was just what I needed to hear, and after that I was able to sleep.
Now my parents are with the Lord, and I miss them very much. Yet, God continues to keep me busy, giving me the new job of encouraging present-day caregivers. I felt guided to write the book, Treading Water with God, Lessons in Love While Care Giving. It is all I learned while being a most reluctant caregiver. If you get a chance to read my book, I hope you will no longer feel alone and know if I made it through, you can too with God’s help.
To go to Meet Veronica Badowski click here
Stressed? Here is a CD developed specifically for caregivers: