Being a care-giver is a difficult role. The advent of the coronavirus has increased the demands, the discouragement, and the frustration enormously.
If you have been reading this blog, you know that my husband’s memory declined dramatically after having surgery three years ago. Prior to that he held a full-time job, we went places together, and shared chores. We were a team. Now, I am living his life for him as well as managing the household duties and trying not to lose myself in the process. His long- and short-term memory are non-existent. What he sees in the moment is his reality. He doesn’t remember that I live and sleep with him, when in fact. I have lived and slept with him for the past 61 years. Now, he can’t really go anywhere, his routines are upset, he doesn’t understand about the virus, and he can have no company.
Yet, I am fortunate, he is fairly functional, I have family support, we are physically healthy, he as at home and sometimes very loving. And, yes, they say “don’t take it personally” and “it’s the disease,” but that does not free me from dealing with the minute to minute demands, responsibilities, and mounting frustrations.
So, I keep wondering what I can do to better deal with what the frustration. I tried many things such as writing them down and out of my mind, focusing on the positive side of the situation, being thankful for what I have, keeping busy, and “letting go and letting God.” I also practice mindfulness and exercise daily. It was interesting that when I began writing this article the topic was “fury”, then it changed to “anger,” then “frustration,” and finally what came to mind was “acceptance.”
Maybe, I answered my own question. I may not want to be a care-giver, I may not like his memory loss, I may be frustrated with his repeated questions and comments but . . . Acceptance is a choice! So, maybe I “should” choose to accept the situation and take care of myself as best I can.