Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bad things happen to good people

Sometimes bad things happen to good people.  Sometimes, we see life crumbling before our eye's and it's a living hell.  Figure out the "how"'re hurting and want to help.  Here are 7 steps to help you figure out the "how":

1. First understand, God is not punishing you or your loved one's.  The circumstance is yours to face.

2. The way out is the way through.  The only way to get out is to work your way through the situation.

3. Sometimes you have to go into the darkness.  You must go to dark places in order to find light.  Sometimes      we remain in dark places for awhile, and I can't tell you how long.  It's different for everyone and it takes time to deal with the issues.  but by dealing with the issues, you will find the light.  And it will be there, on the other side.

4. Look for blessings along the way.  These blessings come in all forms, lesson's learned may teach you something.  Or perhaps someone new pops into your life.  NOTICE THEM!!  I have learned many lesson's and met a significant person in my life who I thank God for everyday.  And I thank them for that personally and through God.

5. Allow yourself to receive.  Receiving gifts of food, comfort, gifts.  People will try to help you, LET THEM!!  Learn to be a good receiver and this will help you in the next step.

6. Step Out!  Step out to give!  When you give, it opens yourself up to receive.  You begin to find a little light.  You step into service in some fashion.  Through serving, you discover you ARE worthy.  You discover light.

7. Finally, remember...You are not alone.  Wherever you are, God goes with you.  These moments are teachable moments in time.  We remember God was there all along.  Sometimes we're just caught-up in the moment and forget, trying to be strong and do things ourselves.  Then, we remember God is always there.  Perhaps turn to counselor's, spiritual support, family, friends, caregivers.  But remember, God goes with you wherever you are!!

Bless you, and those supporting you!  And remember, there is a way out.  Just work your way through it and you will see the light!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ever changing caregivers

As I was walking the dog yesterday, lost in thought, contemplating life's situations, I almost missed a glorious sight. In the Mid-West spring landscape, it was barely visible. I thought at first that I was mistaken. There, in all its splendor, was a Little Blue Heron, standing tall at the edge of the little pond. Don't herons migrate? Don't they try to escape the long, hard winters?

And that's when I realized my mistake. I assumed to know about the blue heron because I know about some other birds. I lumped the blue heron in with all birds and made presumptions about its migratory behavior based on what I thought made the most sense.

When you are a caregiver, it's easy to plow through situations with the idea that because you know this or that, you also know things with which you have no familiarity. It's easy to think it's okay to connect the dots because you have past experience.

The truth is that as a  caregiver, your role is ever-changing, because the needs of your loved one over time will change. Some people get healthy enough to resume their old lives. Some people manage their illnesses in ways that allow them to function fairly normally. Other people deteriorate over time.

If you are caring for someone who has a life-limiting illness, it's important to understand that as things progress, you must progress with them. You must understand the disease in its various stages in order to provide the best care for your loved one. The needs of a cancer patient at Stage 1 are vastly different than the needs of one at Stage 3 or 4. The early stages of Alzheimer's and other dementias present very different behaviors than later ones. Some people with ALS have quality of life for a long period, but can suddenly decline. If you don't expect the changes, they can have a profound effect on your ability to provide care to your loved one.

Life has a way of presenting us with surprises along the road. The more we pay attention to the subtle landscape, the more we discover. I might have missed that little blue heron the other day, but because I love to walk and because I force myself to see something new each time I set foot out the door, I was lucky enough to enjoy it. Putting your mind on automatic pilot and not leaving room to see the details of the care you provide means you are less likely to spot the tiny cracks in the dam before it breaks. Family caregivers who pay attention to their loved ones don't just find problems. They also find the connections that tie us together as families. Those ties that bind us together are also what give us strength and comfort when the going gets rough. They are the winds that fill our sails. If we know how to navigate the family ship properly, the journey is made better.