As a caregiver, you may feel that you haven’t given enough, as there’s always more that needs to be done. Feeling unsettled or not up to the task is common, even though you know that nobody can do everything. It’s all too easy to lose sight of how much you actually do.
The love you offer, your supportive thoughts and everyday kindnesses mean the world to the parent you care for. But you must never forget – you cannot give what you do not possess. Giving what you have to give is all anyone can ask of you.
In your heart, you know you are doing your very best. By learning to be at peace with yourself you will help to build your strength to face tomorrow’s challenges.
My mother has advanced Parkinson’s disease and lives in my home. Sometimes I feel useless because I can’t help her. Recently, the only way I could describe my feelings was that for the first time in my life I was without joy or hope.
My mother’s sister asked me why I felt that way. When I told her it was because I couldn’t help mom, she said you mean ‘cure’ her. Then she opened my eyes to the help I give mom everyday. She said that I provided warmth, love, support, kindness, comfort, shelter – her words, ‘everything that was within my power to give.’
I had always thought that my contributions were insignificant. That I just did what needed to be done. I know now that I haven’t failed, that no one expected me to ‘cure’ mom, just to be there for her when she needed me.
My aunt helped me see how much I’ve brought to mom’s life. I finally realized that what I considered minor kindnesses meant the world to her. Understanding the reality of what I can and cannot do is very comforting. It helps me realize that what I do makes a very large difference in my mother’s life.
The small miracles continue even today. I often feel my parents’ presence at critical moments that some would consider ridiculous if I told about them about such things. Sometimes I find joy in remembering the poignant moments and amazing things that brought us closer. I would not have missed that for the world, as odd as that sounds.