Jan 14 2013 in Community Caregiving Journal by Bob
“Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours.”–Gordon Lightfoot, from the song, “The Wreck of the Edmond Fitzgerald.”
I often wondered about this idea of God testing us. Is God really testing me or is it that an incredibly loving God would do nothing of the sort. I don’t know the answer. I think, for me, a ”test” signifies something that I’m faced with or circumstances that challenge my available resources. I certainly have my challenges in my caregiving experience with my caree (my wife).
What makes things even more difficult about my caregiving experience/circumstance is that it’s so complicated by so many other aspects that totally overwhelm my resources. I never really liked thinking of myself as being weak or strong. I think that I never really wanted to think about it. To be strong has sometimes meant to me being over-confident for some reason. Or, if I admit I’m strong, people will expect more out of me and I may not want or feel capable of delivering. Being weak has meant feeling vulnerable. It has only been maybe the past 10 years or so that I have come to see vulnerability as a strength, not a weakness and nothing to fear.
These days, I am so incredibly overwhelmed by caregiving and all the other life circumstances I face that I don’t know how I bear it. I feel that the only way is through my Higher Power. But also family members helping me out and supporting me, as well as other activities however small to nourish myself.
I am in a place now that I have to make major life decisions that my caree is not going to like and I know will cause her to feel disheartened, angry, and betrayed–like having to let go of our home eventually. Life as we knew it will be gone except what we are able to hold to and for me, our memories. The relatively few things that we will be able to hold on to and the memories do not console my wife. She still wants it all back. I understand. I do to.
But, I realize, we have to move forward. She is not ready, I do not believe, to move forward with what we have which makes the circumstances even more difficult on top of what they already are. We’ve talked about this topic ad infinitum and it seems to always return to my wife’s wish to return to what we had and like she will not accept anything less than that. Even though she may say that it’s not so. This is where she is in her grief and loss process. I respect where I am and I respect where she is. But its damn hard when you’re the one that has to make the tough thankless decisions.
I’m not in any need of a halo…especially in contending with what I described above. I’m not looking to become a saint (or at least there must be an easier way). Just an ordinary human being would be good enough. I know that some of our circumstances came out of lack of planning or perhaps some type of denial.
As far as resilience is concerned, I would say I’m maybe about average. I’ve known people in my life and people throughout history who have had incredible resilience. I’m not or not yet one of them. I can go back to my early developmental history and see that I was really never challenged that much. I guess over-protected. It’s a source of shame and embarrassment. This whole situation is a source of shame and embarrassment. Why can’t I be like so and so…
So where does the love of God go when the waves turn the minutes into hours; especially in the face of what seem like insurmountable difficulties. Every day I get up anxious, insecure, mind reeling. Then, the “still small voice” within at some point in the day says, “Let go” … and I begin to relax.