As a family caregiver, you have a story to tell. Your story about your caregiving experience involves intrigue (will the doctor ever return your call?), mystery (when will your care recipient take her next bath? next week? next month? next…?), a love triangle (you, your husband and your care recipient)–all great ingredients for a great story!
And, when you tell your story, you name your emotions in your experience—-the anger, frustration, sadness, fear. And, when you name your emotions, you take some of the weight out of their burden.
But, you may think, who wants to hear my story? An audience, while nice, isn’t necessary to your story-telling. And, you may think, I can barely write my name, how will I write my story? Your story-telling isn’t necessarily a written exercise. Often, what we collect or what we do becomes our way of telling our story. Some ideas of how you can tell your story:
–Your updates to your community support group can also include snippets of your story;
–Your e-mail messages to your family and friends slowly put the pieces of your story together.
Other ways include:
–Your photography, the pictures of you and your care recipient that you capture on film or on video;
–Your journals, both in print and online;
–Your garden, whose plants and flowers reflect the stages of your caregiving experience;
–Your paintings, which chronicle your emotional journey;
–Your drawings, which detail the changes in your lifestyle because of your caregiving experience;
–Your handwork (crocheting or needle pointing), which represents the art your care recipient taught you;
–Your woodwork, which takes life throughout your caregiving experience;
–Your golf game, whose swings and strokes become your story;
–Your art collection, which tells the story of your love for fine things, including your care recipient;
–Your antique collection, which re-creates your life with your care recipient;
–Your book collection, which mirrors the rollercoaster emotions of the experience;
–Your DVD movie collection, which explains your difficult, but loving, relationship with your care recipient.
Your story can take many forms—-and any form works! How do you tell your story?