What’s Your Bear?

Yesterday, Holly, who cares for her husband, Dave, joined me for Table Talk on Your Caregiving Journey. We talked about how to feel better on a bad day. You can listen to our show via the player below.

I asked Holly to tell us about her bad days. In turns out, her recent bad days hinge on the arrival of a bear. On Friday morning, a bear greeted her outside her door. This is the not first arrival of a bear on her property; she had a bear visiting throughout last summer.

The arrival of a bear means Holly’s day changes. She must bring in the bird feeders, she must be careful of her use of the outdoors. This bear comes between Holly and what she loves–taking care of and enjoying nature.

As we continued our conversation, we talked about the other bear in Holly’s life: Dave’s resistance to bathing. When he resists, she feels out-of-control, without options.

The bear appearance and the bathing resistance put Holly face-to-face with what can be so hard to live with–our lack of control over the events and situations that take place during a day, especially in a day that’s all about caregiving.

When Holly saw the bear yesterday, she sat and cried. When she saw the bear for three months last year, she sat and cried for three months. Perhaps the bear allowed you to cry, I suggested. He did, Holly said, I had not done that (cried).

We’ll continue the conversation with Holly about her bears next month. (Holly joins me for Table Talk on the third Saturday of every month.) I’d love to know about your bears. What (or who) appears during your day which challenges you to feel good about your day? Please share in our comments section, below.

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About Denise Brown

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched CareGiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.

5 thoughts on “What’s Your Bear?

  1. Avatar of Old BillyOld Billy

    “What (or who) appears during your day which challenges you to feel good about your day?”

    Wow! Does this strike a nerve. I can only think of one thing that can spoil part of my day it happens almost every day and I never talk about it to anyone anymore. I make jokes about it to myself in attempts to neutralize it. But still when ever it happens my neck tightens up my stomach turns and I restrain feelings of rage.

    I only wish it was a Mr. Bear so I could share the name I’ve given to it.

  2. Avatar of Old BillyOld Billy

    “What (or who) appears during your day which challenges you to feel good about your day?”

    Wow! Does this strike a nerve. I can only think of one thing that can spoil part of my day it happens almost every day and I never talk about it to anyone anymore. I make jokes about it to myself in attempts to neutralize it. But still when ever it happens my neck tightens up my stomach turns and I restrain feelings of rage.

    I wish it was a Mr. Bear so I could share the name I’ve given to it.

  3. Trish

    Denise & Holly, This was a wonderful program. I was able to listen live but was driving so couldn’t be in the chat room. (They give out tickets for that sort of thing, you know). :-) It was a reminder to me that we all have a Mr. Bear in our lives! I’ve been thinking about it and think Robert’s seizures are my Mr. Bear. I have certain expectations about the level of functioning Robert has and when he has protracted seizures, they throw off his balance, function level and increases his dependence on me for the whole rest of the day. This has happened this weekend and I realized when I am feeling stressed, it’s because my expectations of his function level is not corresponding to his actual function level at that moment. Thinking of it this way, allowed me to make an immediate attitude shift. Mr. Bear (and you and Holly) made me think about this yesterday. Thank you!

    Reply
  4. Avatar of Bette

    Thank you Denise and Holly. I was able to listen live – but like you Trish I couldn’t make it to the chat room yesterday (:

    I loved listening to the realness as Holly talked about her “bears”.

    My “bear” definitely encompasses the declines here. The good moments make me think my mother is stronger than she is and then I face the “bear” when the truth shows itself.

    I love how you talked about taking time to react to the “bear”. I can see how skimming over the challenges wouldn’t be helpful for anyone.

    Thank you for such a wonderful show. I look forward to May!

    Reply
  5. Avatar of Roaring MouseRoaring Mouse

    Denise and Holly,

    Yes it’s hard to think of a bear as something hard to address. My bear is the constant lack of identification by help that hubby has run out of supplies. I generally find this out at 11pm at night when I would dream of going to bed. So instead I have to stay up to wash/dry/fold laundry and restock. I’ve already put signs and notes and conversations…I’m now thinking I’ll add a checkoff to his vital sheet.

    Doing these things means I then don’t go to bed until one…wake up at 6:30am and then go back to bed for another hour. Then they are upset with me for sleeping in. I get frustrated but I try to look at it…that it could be a lot worse. The kicker to all this is that there are now problems with hubby’s shunt so his pain level on a 1:10 scale has been climbing upward to the 50′s. It’s hard to go to sleep knowing you just had to conduct a speed round on supplies while watching your hubby repeatedly bang his hand on the bed to make the pain go away for moments at a time.

    Where’s the cuddly Teddy Bear Twinkie (my daughter’s pet name…)? Mommy needs a hug!

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