Just in case you were not aware November is National Family Caregivers Month! You can check out more information here at this link thefamilycaregiver.org I encourage you to do so.
Being a caregiver takes alot of energy, time and love...it also can be not only wearing on the caregiver themselves, but also on the relationship with the one you're caring for. It is difficult to watch someone you love suffer and decline. It is difficult when you really can't do anything but offer help with meds, living skills and housekeeping and unconditional love and support. I hope that all caregivers out there will realize just how important they are to the ones they care for!
I know in my own relationship with my husband I often feel guilty. I feel bad that I can't keep the pace I used to. I am a very vocal person and lately notice I complain often about my aches and pains and frustrations with my ongoing chronic illness. I think it is equally hard on both sides of the fence. I have been on both sides just as my hubby now has. I took care of him after his two story fall in 1998 and now he helps to take care of me...
I admit I do rely on him quite often. I also see at times when he appears to be running thin on patience. I often try to encourage him to go golfing or call a few of his friends and get a breather away from the house.
I am learning more and more how to not be so vocal about my aches and pains. I am learning more to roll with the punches. This is not easy, as I have said I am a very vocal person! I get up every morning and wish I could just stay in bed all day because my body aches to the bone! My stomach is constantly torn up inside; I am sure due to all the meds I have to ingest daily. And yet there is my high school sweetheart daily by my side listening to me and supporting me in every sort of way imaginable! Fixing me breakfast, helping out around the house...Gosh I can't really remember the last time I did laundry...OK that's not true I did do a few loads last week!!! (yep it was purely out of guilt!!) I have to admit he does do a great job with the laundry!! He goes with me to all my doctor appointments and he is the voice in the background often asking if I have taken my meds or not! He even goes with me to the two support groups I head up...a Parkinson disease one and a Lyme disease one...and he actively and willingly participates in them!!
We laugh together, cry together and yes even drive each other crazy at times...We've been together for over 33 years! I still love him as much as I did when we were kids in school! I am so thankful he is on this journey with me. He is my knight in shining armor!!! No doubt about that!!
This month I salute my one and only true love, the man who is always there by my side even when I drive him crazy with all my complaining! My husband Alfred!
Here is a poem I wrote in honor of him when I was told I had Parkinson's disease several years ago.... I shared it a year ago here and it is worth sharing again with my readers....(This past February it was confirmed that I have Lyme Disease)
By My Side
I still can see the day we finally heard When the Lyme specialist blurted out the word It's plain to see, it has to be All test completed: it's called PD From that moment on you were strength, I looked at you and you did wink Your smile I found to be my strength, yes it helped me not to sink You have conquered your own walls Your perseverance has taught me to stand tall You see me struggle and extend a hand Your strength once again has helped me stand You crack jokes when I stutter You've always loved me like no other You now cook and clean and even run the laundry machines You help to be sure my meds are right Even down to the last pill at night My muscles you rub when spasms hit and when I push my body to hard you're right there to command I sit when I cry and feel I can't go on You show me how I can be so strong when people look and stare you act as if you are unaware I am so thankful you're in my life I am proud to boast I am your wife Our roles are changing this I see I am so glad you're standing next to me! They have a word for what you do Its called caregiver, who would have thought you'd wear that shoe? You do it with love and without complaint Even during the times when I really am no saint! It makes it a bit less scary as my symptoms at times are hard to hide To know that you're here right by my side!
I am so proud of you my Alfred...thank you for loving me unconditionally and for being the best husband, best friend and caregiver a gal could have!
If you have a caregiver I hope you will take time to thank them and recognize all they do for you. If you are a caregiver I hope you know what you do is so appreciated by those you lovingly take care of. God Bless the caregivers of this world!