When the Caregiving Call Light Comes On

Annamaria

When the Caregiving Call Light Comes On

Annamaria
“Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible.”- Tia Walker, author of The Inspired Caregiver.

In China there is a law that states children “must visit parents.” Here in the United States it is more like a moral standard that people either choose to uphold or ignore. Caregiving was not part of my plan. I had just finished raising my children and gotten them through college. I had two jobs which were paying me a handsome salary. I was in a position to travel and see the world. This was when the Caregiving Call Light came on for my parents and my two aunts.

The first lesson I learned in this experience: Caregiving is not for the weak. It takes a great deal of strength to keep going. It was not easy. These four people were very challenging even on their best days. Two of my cousins wanted to relocate their mother to be closer to them in another state about 1,500 miles away, but they needed help in bringing that plan to action. The caregiving light had come on for them as well. I believe they wanted to answer the call but they needed help. I helped them answer the caregiving call light for their mother. They helped me answer the caregiving call light for our aunt (who had no children of her own). It took us about two years to get things situated but eventually we were able to relocate both of my aunts to be together in an assisted living facility close to where my cousins live. This has worked out very well for all of us.

In the meantime, the caregiving light came on for my parents. Once again, it was me who answered the call. I put my other plans on hold and reorganized my life to manage and include them as part of my daily routine. My siblings chose to ignore the call light. I didn’t have time to worry about that. It seemed I was going to be on my own now with my two parents. I found a way to make things work. I relocated myself and my parents to the city where my son and daughter-in-law live. This way there would be some nearby family support. I found a job that is weekends only. Therefore I am available to care for my parents on weekdays and my son and his family help out on the weekends. My amazing daughter is a flight attendant and she flies into town at least once a month to spend time with her grandparents and to give her ol’ mom a little respite.

The experience has been (and continues to be) a challenging, stressful, rewarding, enlightening and altruistic roller coaster ride, but every day I learn and grow from it. This experience has created so much solidarity between myself and my own children. It has made us all realize what the important things in life really are.

It is still challenging on a daily basis, but I feel that I have definitely created a strong support system. I am giving up a lot of things I would prefer to be doing to make time for the daily duties of caregiving. Learning how to turn obstacles into opportunity has been a primary goal in my daily life these days.

If you are reading this post then you too have answered a caregiving call light. What have you learned during this experience? Are there things that you wish you could change? Did you know that not everybody can do what you do? Did you know that reliving a happy and positive experience just for a few moments per day can rewire your brain to be happier? Now walk over to a mirror and look at yourself. You are proof that angels do exist on earth. I am sending the light of peace, love, hope and prosperity your way. You got this!

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