Caregiver’s Trap

One of the first things my husband did when we moved into our new home six years ago was to say, “We’ll plant a lawn, and I’ll put in some stepping stones so that you can walk across the lawn and look at the birds in the trees that you enjoy so much.” A simple act of love which today, as I stepped across the lawn in the morning light with my cup of coffee in hand, tugged at my heart.

Now, I find that I am a full-time caregiver for that dear man, and it comes with a subtle trap. Knowing that there are caregivers all over the world that have spent years at this, and for me, it’s been about two months, I share this with humility.

My husband has told me several times that his greatest fear is dying alone. That stuck with me and so for the first eight weeks or so, with the exception of a few mad-toad rides to the grocery store, I have not left him alone. I’ve returned to the house, racing to the bedroom door to make sure he survived the ordeal. Not good for the ol’ stress-o-meter.

At least a half dozen good friends or family have warned me. Take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you’ll be no good to him or anyone else. I’ve listened to them politely, knowing that I won’t leave him alone for one second, or at least until we need another loaf of bread.

And then, finally, it hit me. The only person or thing that I’ve had a relationship with in the last two months is my blog. My body is now formed in the shape of an ergonomic office chair. I’m surprised I don’t have permanent wheels on the bottom of my feet so I can just spin around on my own. And I can’t even remember how I used to apply makeup. I missed one of my best friend’s birthdays and I have no good gossip to share with my girlfriends because I haven’t spoken to any of them in weeks, other than a few email exchanges.

My choices: fall into the rabbit hole of resentment and self-pity and turn into a little wrinkled up apple doll, or get off my duff, get out there and take a walk each day with my friends and re-connect. I am blessed, indeed, because I’ve come to the realization that with faith comes the knowledge that neither my husband nor myself are ever truly alone. And with a cell phone strapped to my hip, and one taped to my husband’s wrist — I will venture out and take a breath of fresh air!

Look closely. There is a hummingbird on the top branch!


About susansplace

Widowed in 2012, I am a mother and grandmother. Born in San Francisco, I now live in the town I grew up in: Mill Valley, California. I love nature photography. Just an amateur but that's OK! My goal: world peace. Got any ideas?
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4 Responses to Caregiver’s Trap

  1. Jan says:

    Very wise words. Have you considered writing for a Christian magazine or journal? Your writing should somehow be shared with others who are fearful of a computer or who don’t have one or who are not directly connected with you. i would think the Lutheran publishers would welcome your thoughts and feelings as there are many others going through what you are. Your way with words and your ability to share feelings is approaching professional standards. With all the reports and business writing you are so capable of and experienced with, it seems to me new doors are opening.

  2. Bless you. This must be such a tough time. I love the stepping stones in the lush grass. There is an analogy there.

  3. susansplace says:

    Thank you, Lily. The stepping stones lead to my little pine tree, where “my” hummingbird lives, on the top branch, come rain, sleet, wind, snow or beautiful day like today!

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