Happy New Year
We reached the end of another year celebrating our triumphs, our dreams, our challenges,
our wishes, our joys, and our plans for a happy and healthy new year.
SO this, in the end, is what love is. As young’uns, we fantasize about love prompted through movies, songs, literature, romance novels, ecstasy, the allure, and that it should be easy. At this point in my life, none of that is true anymore. What is true, however, is the wisdom I have gained over fifty-three years of marriage and twenty years as a care partner, something I wouldn’t have believed at low points along the journey – I do love my husband. SO this, in the end, is what love is.
This realization was the beginning of change, but it didn’t come easily. The psychologist Mary Pipher, the author of Another Country: Navigating the Emotional Terrain of Our Elders (2000) explains “Young love is about wanting to be happy. Old love is about wanting someone else to be happy. If you stay married, there’s riches in store that nobody 25 years old can imagine.”
Always on alert, planning for safety, unable to leave him alone acknowledging my caregiver burnout – I recognize that in myself.
We need better systems of evaluating both the patients and the caregivers for depression. We need to teach better systems of managing symptoms. And we need more support systems so that caregivers can get a break in an otherwise overwhelming task.
How am I surviving this journey? When my sister asked me why I didn’t do – quite frankly I don’t remember how the question ended, but I knew the answer immediately. DENIAL. I really believed I could do this all myself. And, if you have read this far, you may believe that you too can do this all yourself. We can’t.
I made up the acronym SAFE providing a moment of mindfulness, asking myself in this moment, am I
S – sad
A – angry or anxious
F – fearful or frustrated
When I’m able to address the moment more positively, I feel
E – empowerment
Stepping back, giving myself a moment, enhances the outcome.