We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. George Bernard Shaw
The road to Spokane has gotten a little bumpy (no I did not get a virtual ticket) the last couple of nights, but thankfully, I was able to submit chapter 3 this weekend, albeit a few days late; I hope Dr. Hazel does not mind! (I already am sensing a short rewrite) Now we are in the process of gathering data from our working family caregivers survey and next week, we will start gathering data from employers through a second survey. If you have not taken the working family caregiving survey, there is still plenty of time to do so. Here is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/workcare2016
Approaching two years since Richard’s passing and six months since my book “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” was published, this past week has been an emotional roller coaster. In an earlier post, I wrote about getting beyond compassion fatigue, and I have also written about the different levels of grief that I have experience since Richard made his life transition. However, what I did not anticipate while working on the survey and thesis project is the diverse reflections and intense emotions about Richard and our Caregiving experience .
Since Richard made his life transition, I have have had very few dreams about him. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Symbolism In Communication where I wrote about receiving a text message from Richard’s old telephone which has been turned off for almost two years. Now, this week, while working on this thesis project, I have had two very vivid dreams, back to back, about Richard. In the first dream, we were at the hospice unit, the second dream is difficult to describe, but intense. I woke up with a massive headache the morning after the second dream.
While I do not attempt to psychoanalyze these dreams, it has made me stop and think about my role as a family caregiver and my life after caregiving has ended. I know in my heart and my mind that I did all I could for Richard and no matter what I think I could have done differently, nothing was going to change Richard’s destiny as the cancer had spread throughout his body. However, the knowledge of knowing and accepting that I did all I could for him, does not change the fact of how much I miss him.
I continue to believe that it is important for family caregivers to share their story as they feel comfortable. Every family caregiver learns something when another caregiver’s story is told. Yet when is it time to move on? I guess I am asking myself that question now. Caregiving is an intense experience, life after caregiving can be just as intense, but different.
During the intensity of the daily grind of being a family caregiver, there are times when we think we are weak when in essence, we are quite strong. The dreams of the past week reminds me that it’s okay to be vulnerable as it will only make me stronger as I get continue to adjust to life, now that caregiving has ended.
The Road To Spokane is my virtual story on the way to graduation from Gonzaga University in Spokane Washington
Chris MacLellan is the host of Healing Ties Radio show and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?”