Caring for a Loved One

sweet old kiss

Photo by: Jonel Hanopol

Am I Qualified to Care for Someone

A month ago, I sat in the airport terminal with time to pause and think about a question that nagged me the previous day. I was on my way to Texas to care for a family member who was seriously ill. My relative had been released from the hospital, but no one was there to care for her. What could I do? I am not qualified to be a caretaker. I was concerned, depressed and felt hopeless. How could I find the courage to break through the trouble?

Awkwardness greeted me upon my arrival in Texas. I decided to use a technique that had worked many times in the past when I faced a terrifying situation. I closed my eyes, took a few deep breaths and smiled. With suitcase in hand I set off for my relative’s home.

Be There

I remember blunder around my relative’s home for the first few days, not knowing what to say or do. But carrying on the normal daily activities soon erased the awkwardness of the situation. I quickly realized that being there is what is needed. I didn’t have to do a thing. I didn’t have to say a thing. When I felt useless, I cleaned a room. When I felt inadequate, I spent time with her watching a TV show. When I felt ineffective, I cooked a meal. I felt useful. I acted useful. I was useful.

With perseverance, hard work and maybe a miracle or two, recovery arrived. I could hear it, see it, sense it. But for fear of a setback I didn’t want to cease worrying and helping and praying. You focus on the good and forget the bad. Bad will diminish allowing the good to flourish. Like putting a weed killer on your lawn that chokes out the weeds allowing the grass to grow unencumbered. The grass can stretch its feet and enjoy the warmth of the sun. Recovery is contagious. With each sign of improvement the mind becomes convinced it can recover and armed with those subconscious thoughts, my relative wanted to recover.

My trepidations were calmed. I could return home knowing my trip was a benefit to someone I loved. The simple prevailed.

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