The Right Question

Mary

The Right Question

Mary
(Editor's Note: Today we welcome Mary, who cares for her daughter to our blogging team. You can connect with her on her profile page: @thecaregiver.)

spindle-529841_640My husband and I have an adult daughter with special needs and we cared for my husband's mom through cancer and early stages dementia until her recent passing.

I have been caregiving as well as coaching caregivers for many years through The Heart of the Caregiver.  The question I hear the most is "Why?" We all want to understand the reasons for pain and suffering, but that question almost always leads to a dead end. No one really knows why--why cancer, why now, why her, why me, why suffering, etc. There are no good "guesses" either. We guess because we want to be able to label something so we can know how to deal with it, but what if we label it wrong? A curse. A blessing. A mistake. A gift. From God. From Satan. Because I... Because he.....

Instead of asking why, I recommend asking "How?" "How" questions can have practical answers that can get us moving in a positive direction. They can show us the meaning in our suffering. They allow others to contribute. For instance, "Why did this have to happen to us?" leaves a long empty blank at the end of the question that can only be filled in by guesses. But if the question is, "How will we cope with these devastating changes?," there is an endless list of good possibilities to fill in the blank--pray, let friends make us food, do research, pull together as a family, hire a caregiver, lean on the church, see a therapist, choose to look for the good (you get the picture).

Reframing "why" into "how" can keep you on course--tracking productivity and progress--keeping you from getting lost on the side roads of fear and confusion. Intentionally set your course to find the good along the way and celebrate every victory no matter how small. Being a caregiver is a hard job, but it can also be an extremely fulfilling journey for you and your caree.

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