Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson
AARP’s monthly bulletin arrived in the mail and I have to say, it is impressive. There are plenty of wonderful stories about Caregivers, terrific information and quite a bit of wonderful resources to help Caregivers on their journey. November’s AARP Bulletin is a must for all Caregivers! As I paged through the magazine, I looked to see if there might be an article or two that might fit my current role as a Caregiver. I sensed something was missing? Thinking that I might find the information I was looking for, I moved over to AARP’s massive website and navigated to the Caregiving section and noticed about 2/3 of the way down the page an article on Coping with Loss – One Step At A Time. I was sadden to see that the article was more than a year old!
My role as a Caregiver changed on March 9, 2014 when my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer passed away. When Caregiving ends, lives are transformed forever. All of a sudden, Caregiving is over and what is there left to do? Immersed in the care of someone else, now the (former) family Caregiver is learning to live life differently, learning to be a caregiver to themselves. There are two aspects to Caregiving that is similar, there is a beginning and and end to Caregiving and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life events.
As we continue to celebrate National Family Caregiving month and recognize family Caregivers across the nation, I have to wonder if we are not missing an entire segment of family Caregivers whose Caregiving journey has ended. Filled with first hand experience that can be beneficial to family Caregivers, we are learning to be a Caregiver to ourselves. When Caregiving ends, its uncharted waters, but when we swim together, the distance to good health and happiness is not too far away.
I’m creating a life to love after Caregiving ends through advocacy, leadership, writing, radio, travel and cruises!
Chris MacLellan a former family Caregiver and is the host of Healing Ties Radio and the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving.”
Our 2015 Pulitzer Prize Nominated Story In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey, still resonates today!