The Gift of a Second Chance


The Gift of a Second Chance

Something is on my mind today. And it's miserable weather outside, so here I sit.

Second chances.

We've all been given them. Hopefully, we've given them to others too. But have you ever noticed that when you're in the throes of caregiving, sometimes it's the simplest of courtesies that are the quickest to die?

I'm a nice person. I really am. Everyone says so. Oh boy, that sounded very braggish (don't tell my mom!). I just want you to know that I think I'm a pretty normal, reasonable person. But the stress of caregiving sometimes is a very sneaky foe.

A few months ago, I posed a question to my caregiving friends. It went something like this, "I tried to involve my , but they screwed everything up... It's just more work when I try to get him/her to help." You get the idea.

Things had gone wrong. And what was my first instinct? Was it to problem solve? Was it to be gracious and suggest we try again? No. Not at all. Instead, I lamented that this was just too much work. Yes, it was nice to get help, but when I had to pick up all the pieces afterward, it just wasn't worth it. I went on and on in the caregiving chat here on Their response surprised me. Every single one of my virtual friends had the same advice: Give him/her another chance. Don't give up. Keep working at it because you are worth it. You need a break.

I dug my heels in but my friends were relentless in their beliefs (they each had slightly different reasons for giving that advice). So, the next time it came up, instead of saying, "Oh, no. Mom and I will be fine" like I had wanted to, I found myself not only agreeing but coming up with a better plan. A better plan for whom? For ME!

You see, I learned that there are so many subtle nuaces to caregiving. A lot of the issue between the two or three people who love Mom best is that we can't read each other's minds. Given the fact that we talk often, my assumption was that they'd committed to memory my every word about the care and feeding of our mother. The bottom line is my sibling wasn't the problem. I was. I'd made huge assumptions and with my attitude closed the line of communications.

We live and we learn, and we try to do better. That's it, is't it?

I'm a work in progress; we all are. Mom is enjoying time away from me. I'm enjoying my time too. And the truly amazing thing is - that despite being very different siblings, we all have figured out the best way to care for Mom. Each way is different but the same -- each way is perfect and imperfect. And the answer to the caregiving question... is always love.



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I am so very glad that you did not lock yourself away in your caregiving world. It is so easy to just say, it is easier to do it myself. So much easier to get caught up in \"my way.\" I struggle daily with things not done the way I would do it. We deserve the break. I am glad you are working through it.


Dear Karen. You wrote this so beautifully. Each thought was concise, and yet, on my end, made me think of so many things and so many instances in my own caregiving journey with my mother. My own mother has now passed away, one month ago. I don't get any more second chances to get it right with our caregiving journey. Thankfully, my brother and I learned how to share our caregiving of our mother, in wonderful ways that we can now hold close as good memories. In her spirit, I am moving forward with my caregiving experience and helping others in any way I can. What you've suggested here in this blogpost is on point on so many levels of caregiving and I will be sharing this wisdom, that I also experienced, with others. Thank you so very much for sharing this thoughtful and insightful treasure of thoughts and ideas.