Cathy, “Dare to Think” commented:
“… I think I've discovered something about your continual positivity that baffled me at first: it's INVOLVEMENT. You make this a priority and by including your own needs, a viable one. You won't mind then, if I borrow now and again from your thoughts while trying to deal with a brother with MS …”
Every caregiver and family or friend of anyone who is challenged or cannot care for themselves faces this.
I believe that you begin by committing yourself to ‘involvement’ and not on your terms but in a new and ever evolving way.
Beware of ‘walking away’ (literally or figuratively) from a rebuff or a disaster simply because you CAN walk away. Actions convey more than words.
‘Attention to detail’ and ‘sense of urgency’ make a useful mantra. I have learned to ‘advance’ involvement opportunities, ‘walk the ground’. Avoiding physical obstacles and looking for the mental and emotional obstacles in advance unquestionably improves involvement.
Squeezing someone into your schedule is a recipe for disaster. A dependent or challenged person cannot as simply juggle a schedule. Do not bull sh*t, carve out genuine time.
With time and progression there is a fine line between caring and condescending. Emotions on both sides of that line can get confusing.
“One cannot not communicate”. Family and friends must learn to ‘listen’ beyond verbal and to control their own wordless communication.
Above all please try to remember there are times any person may simply want to be alone. Respect and see the person, not the diagnosis.
I once read an interview with Hubert Humphrey in which he shared how he coped with dying of cancer, continuing to live daily and serve in the US Senate. He “designated” 15 minutes every day for self-pity. Staring into a bathroom mirror he would let himself just fall apart, then wash his face and go out to seize the gift of each remaining day.
Caregivingly Yours, Patrick Leer