My Caring Life, Part 1 - Being a Carer
The universe provides for your consciousness to evolve and grow.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment." Eckhart Tolle
It’s 2am on a January morning. All I can think about is a list of things I have to do. The never ending list of tasks to complete to make sure the ship is running smoothly.
Did I order the medication?
Has that form been sent to the council?
Did I tell social services to cancel the carer for next week?
Is she in any pain?
Would she tell me the truth when I ask her how she is feeling?
What is going on in her head?
These are the kinds of thoughts that occupy my brain late at night, while I toss and turn, trying to drift off to sleep. The same thoughts I have night after night. I wake up exhausted. Almost like I haven’t slept.
This has been the most challenging time in my life. When you are caring for a loved one it isn’t a job, it’s a way of life. You constantly put the needs of that person before your own. They become your dependant and sometimes you get lost in the chaos of hospital and doctors’ appointments, trips to the chemist, shopping trips and never ending phone calls you have to make on their behalf.
Not everyone will understand what it’s like but there are some that do. There are a variety of people that are carers of all ages and varied responsibilities.
In July 2016, my aunt lost her battle with cancer. My first reaction was relief. Relief that she was no longer suffering, relief that I no longer had to watch and endure that pain with her. I then felt guilty for feeling that way and that my immediate feeling wasn’t about the void her passing would leave in my life.
When my aunt was diagnosed it was an absolute rollercoaster of emotions mixed with huge amounts of responsibility. Over the last few years I encountered things I never dreamed I would face. I have never viewed my role as a carer as a choice. As we grow older and the people who took care of us grow older we end up taking care of them. As much as I resented it, I knew I just had to do it because she needed me. The same way I needed her when I was younger and unable to care for myself. I didn’t have a choice in existing, just like they didn’t ask to get sick.
This whole situation has given me a different perspective on what it is like to be a parent. Some of you reading this will say ‘it’s not the same thing’ and you’re right, it’s not the same thing. However, the responsibilities that parent have are the same as that of a carer, because they are in fact caring for someone that can’t care for themselves. Some parents don’t choose to be parent either. They have to find a way to cope with this new life they are bringing in the world and make the best possible choices they can for them. But I know from speaking to friends that have children, it is a big transition to go from having no responsibility to having a massive one!
They are responsible for somebody else’s life, their wellbeing, their care, their choices etc. If the person/child is not capable of making choices for themselves, you are going to be the person making those choices. Take it from me, that isn’t always easy and some of those choices will be the toughest ones you will ever have to make. Living with those decisions can be really hard, especially if you have ended up in a position of responsibility that you didn’t choose.
You can often blame yourself if something happens to them when you’re not there, or if they didn’t get what they needed at the right time. There will be many times you have to juggle responsibilities in order to ‘do the right thing’ however hard. Looking after others sometimes comes with great personal sacrifice.
To be continued, in Part 2