This week, I found myself whapped back in a familiar role. Caregiving.
My daughter had a severe kidney infection. We spent 8 grueling hours in the emergency room and several nights in the hospital. She’s now home recovering. It was all so familiar. I felt a thousand memories bombard me–hospital food trays, nurses stations, pleading for pain medication, the night long interruptions and the numbness that takes over, the endless to-do list, don’t-forget-to-ask-the doctor list.
Nothing in me wanted to be doing this with my daughter. But nothing and no one could have dragged me away.
I was reminded just how much you want to care give.
How much it’s just plain ole’ love.
The new fancy name distances it a bit from the real life experience. Caregiving may refer to the duties, but the word, “family” reflects the love, commitment, and willingness that comes with it.
But I did observe a difference in myself. I did feel more empowered–by my previous caregiving experience with my mother who had Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. I was aware when I was in caregiver-mode and when I was in mom-mode. I was aware of when she needed me to be which–mom or caregiver.
I could feel the pull–walking down the long corridors to the cafeteria, the walls, the floor hemming me in, blocking in the worry, projecting thoughts into the future. I found myslef looking out the window, across the parking lot at a senior community center I often speak at–about caregiving–and there I was, reliving it all again.
My daughter will recover and have a rich and vibrant life–and I am reminded that while it might only be for a few days or weeks, caregiving is just part of loving somebody. It’s part of who we are.