In general, the circumstance we are given, at any given time, is “IT”. If any part of “IT” was supposed to be different, it would be.
In the world of caregiving, the circumstances suck 99%, if not 100%, of the time. Take it from me who has 7 years of experience under my belt. It is a complete bone-head, rookie move to waste time and energy on the “what if’s,” or the “if only’s,” and/or in wishing things could be different. Shamefully, I admit, this is the person I was. Of course, I knew on some level it was total bullshit to think I actually had a choice, or that I had some special “pass” that stated I alone had the luxury of picking and choosing my circumstance as if I were ordering toppings for a pizza. Once I pulled my head out, I accepted that what I was given was precisely what I needed for my own growth at that particular time.
In hindsight, every situation was like a brick methodically being placed on the ground to build a solid foundation for me as a person. Wow, how oxymoron-ish is that to have something so unpredictable, erratic, volatile, and unstable as Alzheimer’s to teach me “stability?”
For me, one lesson in general was learning better accounting skills and record keeping. I thought I was already a superstar at bookkeeping, but I guess I needed to sharpen my pencil a little bit more knowing there could be a possible lawsuit down the road. That kind of record keeping involves a judge, lawyers and Indian Chiefs looking at everything. That’s quite different from the IRS looking, though not by much.
With caregiving in general, there is no one avenue that is easier than another. Not one. In Support Group I learned some people have financial challenges taking care of their loved one. Some people have internal family quarrels about how to take care of their loved one. Others have long distance challenges where no one is present to look after their loved one. Some have challenges with having their loved one in a facility that is really terrible or unpleasant. Still others have their loved one living in their home, and their young children don’t understand grandma’s crazy, bizarre, behaviors. Kids and husbands are neglected, which, in turn, puts a strain on the family and home life that sometimes can become intolerable. It goes on and on and on and on.
Jim Rohn’s phrase, “Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better,” is harsh, especially in our caregiving circumstance. However, his words infer we are given the circumstance needed to grow as caregivers and otherwise. Mr. Rohn’s words also go hand in hand with Theodore Roosevelt’s words of not looking outside the circumstance we are given, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
Had I an inkling of this concept from the beginning, I would have let go of a boat-load of anger and resentment a hell of a lot sooner than I did. I stepped up to the plate alright, but I wasn’t happy about it, and I did wish things were different. Had I grasped my personal University course in “Caregiving 101,” sat down at the desk provided and started taking notes, I would have been a lot further along with both acceptance and patience.
What Is True For Me: Within a few years, I learned to take the day’s circumstances as an opportunity to know, grow and learn. Me. Not my fellow caregiver, me. And just so you know, my living this philosophy doesn’t keep me from still sitting in my car some days and totally losing it, screaming at the top of my lungs in the frustration of it all. Viewing things this way simply adds a reasonable reason to keep going.
*A terrific recommendation for Life Skills, which translate to caregiving also, is Jim Rohn’s audio series, The Art of Exceptional Living. It is located in my “Resource” section on my Website.