Okay then.... Now what?


Okay then.... Now what?

What to do? What to do?

Now that the caregiving part of my world has faded.... what do I do?

The idea of "getting your life back" is an odd one because if you really could get your life back then your loved one would be a part of it. So that isn't the right turn of phrase. It may sound right but it isn't. Not by a long shot.

And maybe, just maybe, it isn't the right thing to try for either. Maybe instead to trying to return to how things were - as much as possible - before caregiving took over the world, maybe we ought to forge a new life. By this I mean a REALLY new life, not just a life that resembles the old just minus the loved one. A life that is new in a myriad of ways: new job, new home, new friends, new travels, new city or any combined thereof. Or maybe something as simple as a new haircut. Or a puppy. Start small.

Maybe you took the job you currently have, as I did, because you needed a certain schedule or salary in order to be able to provide care for your loved one. And maybe it doesn't fit now, it's a reminder of what you're lost and perhaps it wasn't all that great to begin with but you put up with it because you needed to for them/him/her. But now to move on to something else is downright scary and may feel a tiny bit disloyal. Showing my age there I think, the younger folk in the workplace don't seem bound by loyalty to a company but rather to what is best for them which really is healthier when you think about it.

Maybe you've been trapped in that house for years unable to take anything remotely resembling a vacation or heck, even go get a manicure, so perhaps travel would be nice. Assuming of course you (a) have the funding and (b) any paid leave from work left since caregiving has a way of sucking that all away. I don't have either of those right now so a walk in the park (literally, I live near a park) is about all I can manage. I may wait until it warms up a bit though, not a fan of 30-degree weather - and it's only November. Yikes. Okay then, Step 1 get a warmer coat before proceeding to Step 2 the actual walking in the actual park.

Oh, but to dream of really traveling. Wouldn't that be something? Hawaii perhaps. Right now any place warm and sunny would be fabulous. Born in Maine and raised int he Midwest yet I really HATE winter. Must be the Texas half of my genetic makeup. Although lately it hasn't been warm in Dallas either so I'm told. Some all-inclusive resort. No offense to the parents out there but please, somewhere without children running all over. When your nerves are raw that is the last thing you want to deal with - someone else's children. A break to breathe. To think. To figure out what comes next. Something other than trudging along day after day ignoring the hole in your life. Or trying to.

Life after caregiving is confusing to say the least. I've spoken of the overwhelming aspects before, probably a lot since it is what makes up a good deal of my days. It is also confusing though. Because you aren't who you were anymore. Not the person you were while you were caregiving and not the person from before either. Oh sure, people change ... blah, blah, blah.... but what do you do about it? What do you do with it? Where do you go from here?

Does anyone have a map?

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Robin Weeks

You have described this so well. What is a life like after caregiving? I think we have discovered new things about ourselves and have to figure out where to put them in our lives?


It takes a lot of courage to keep putting yourself our there, even among people who are supposed to \"get it'. Or maybe courage doesn't even begin to define it. Sometimes it's compulsion, you can't NOT do it.\r\nYour insights are always spot on. Someone else's map won't work for you. \r\nYou're still going forward, even with so much uncertainty, and carrying so much sadness.\r\nThank you for continuing to share your story.