I titled this discussion with tongue-in-cheek, but only part way. As this caregivers discussion group has begun I have been struck by the number of times the word ‘guilt’ is used by us caregivers. It is unfortunate, understandable, unnecessary, and, to me, more often than not, unwarranted!
I believe 99% of our guilt is so unwarranted we caregivers need a place to get rid of it. This gave me an idea….
So here is our Caregivers’ Guilt Dumpster! Feel free to check in, and make a deposit anytime you want! The dumpster is big, it has no weight limit, 24/7/365 availability (since we as caregivers often live on that same 24/7/365 schedule), no fees, and the lid is now open! 🙂
More often than not, I believe a person is thrust into a caregiving role. It seems to just happen and we answer the call for some variety of reasons. Those who adopt the nickname of ‘caregiver’ obviously have accepted our call.
As we each know, caregiving comes with no employee handbook, no job description, no timesheet to clock in and out, and an awfully slim benefits package. I likened my initial feelings as a caregiver to those I had the first time I jumped into the deep end of a swimming pool. In over my head and trying my best to just not drown.
In the 14 years I was my wife’s primary caregiver I had loads and loads of feelings of guilt. Heck, sometimes I would feel guilt before I even did something because I was unsure of my ability to do what she needed. But, thankfully, we always seemed to manage. Not always the smoothest of managing, but we did get to say ‘mission accomplished’.
Yes, the ‘mission’ at hand would get accomplished and sometimes I would be repaid with a smile and sometimes with a snarl. While the ‘mission’ got done — however my feelings of guilt often did not end. To fight the guilt, I finally began to use a mantra/image to help me through the guilt. Before I would start, I’d close my eyes for a brief moment. When I would reopen them I would say to myself “Well, Scott, no one appeared in this room to take my place for this task, so all I can do is give it my best.”
This did help. I still had some, but at least less, of the guilt. My reality now is too much of those feelings of guilt still nag at me and hang on my shoulders like a weight. So I leave it here. Now. Today. In the guilt dumpster!
Feel free to have at it!
Peace and strength to all caregivers!