“As caregivers, we feel guilty for a million reasons.”
This was a tough weekend with mom. We are very different in the way we think, the way we approach life and the way we perceive people. When she gets an idea into her head that to me has little basis in reality and she obsesses about it, it’s a problem. It’s a problem because I get frustrated and angry and it colors our time together.
I know I am responsible for my emotions. I know I’m responsible to “name them, claim them, then change them.” After all, I devote an entire chapter to this topic in my book: “Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.” But I have to be honest, I really struggled with being able to turn my frustration and anger around this weekend. The end result? I felt guilty about my tone of voice and how I withdrew from her.
It was my weekly phone call with my best friend that helped me to begin to change my emotions. Talking to her is the cornerstone of my self-care. In sharing my feelings, I realized why I couldn’t just let go of what mom was saying.
Writing a book has always been one of my dreams. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and can’t wait until it’s released in September 2019. But this is a bitter sweet moment for me. You see, it was my fathers death that started me on this caregiving journey. Without his death, without my role as Mom’s caregiver, I would not have written a book. My inability to let go of what Mom was saying is really about grief. I am grieving that my Dad who would have been so proud of this book, is not here with me to share it. And that makes me grieve his loss all over again. It is in this grief that I find myself with no patience and annoyed by things I can normally let go.
Anger, frustration, grief and guilt were a big part of this weekend. Which is why this article “Convert your guilt into gratitude” from friend and colleague Rachel Hiles of Taking Care of Grandma struck me and made such an impact.
“After all, this is only temporary.There will be a day when my life and routine won’t be dictated by caregiving. Until then, I should be forgiving and compassionate with myself when my day doesn’t go as I planned or I don’t do everything I set out to do.” Rachel
I should be forgiving and compassionate with myself, when the weekend with mom does’t go as I’d hoped. Thank you Rachel, Deb