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Monday, June 27, 2016

Your Dying Spouse 173 - When The Caregiver Stops Caring

It's human. You can get so overwhelmed with being the main attendant and sometimes the main focus of life for a terminally ill mate that a part of you is going to scream I am so tired of this and I just don't care anymore!

And then you'll probably beat yourself up for thinking disloyal thoughts.

But you've got to remember a few things -

  • Emotion is largely out of our direct control. You can't stop a thought from entering your head. You can stop it from taking root. There's an old proverb, "You can't keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from nesting in your hair."
  • Emotion and feeling and even love are variable. They are going to rise and fall over time; life is not a romantic comedy in which love simply grows and grows. Sometimes it lies dormant, sometimes it withers a bit. Trying to 'force' feeling is like making a tired horse work harder. You might be able to do it for a little while, but you can really ruin something.
  • As long as you don't talk abut this kind of feeling, your mate likely won't know about it. What you do and how you act are the important things here, the points of contact.
  • Finally, and most important, this feeling of indifference and futility will pass.
Be gentle with yourself. Doubt, anger, and even indifference are part of being human in a very tough and exhausting situation. Don't make it worse for yourself by trying to keep to an unachievable standard.

If you can, please do leave a comment. I am trying to answer all, and I am failing, but please know this - I read and treasure each one.

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  1. Andrew, I sense you have my heart bugged, for this one was written for me...just came back from a few errands, with hubby, and it was miserable. All the way home I was thinking about how I am FAILING at being a caregiver...and I don't really have to DO that much caregiving at this point!

    How many times have I cried out - silently or out loud - "I am so tired of this and I just don't care anymore!" I know it is not the way to feel, but I also know what he says to me and how he makes me feel...I am not saying this is how you are to Barb...I don't feel you are that sort of man; yet, in the circumstances, I'm sure there are times when you and Barb have felt this.

    Thanks once again for "hitting the nail on the head" for me and your other readers!

  2. Sometimes it feels like, I quit, I can't do this anymore. The weariness overcomes the emotions when the overwhelmed feeling comes and is slow to leave. At that point, we need a moment to ourselves, to regroup and recharge...even if it is a walk around the block or a few minutes of letting it out by ourselves or with a friend. It's not about love or lack of love, it's about pressure and weariness. Everyone must give Grace at that point. At least, that's the way it is for me at times.

  3. Bless you for giving others permission to be...human! We're not perfect, and so often, as caregivers, and as patients, we expect an awful lot of ourselves! Blessings, Andrew!

  4. Yes ... just because we feel it doesn't mean we have to voice it to our loved one.

  5. Andrew, good words here.We don't always "feel" love, even when we're healthy. That's when we need to choose to show love anyway. Because love is an action, and a choice. As your post demonstrates. :)

    I'm with Carol. Thanks for giving others the permission to be human, not perfect.

    So grateful for your words, friend.