Sacred Journey toward the End of Life Retreat Jul 29, 2017 12:59:34 GMT -5
Post by markdohle on Jul 29, 2017 12:59:34 GMT -5
Sacred Journey toward the End of Life Retreat/ Being a caregiver
I am aware that there is much in caregiving that is rewarding. It can bring healing on an emotional level to be able to take care of one’s parents or other family members. There are times of laughter, of deep sharing and compassion and empathy can deepen. The relationship with the caregiver and the care-receiver can be one of the most intimate relationships possible. However there is a side to being a caregiver that can be very harmful, if care of self and the courage to deal with ones interior experience are not taken seriously. Both the one giving care and the one receiving will see each other at their best and their worst, there is no backing out, each experience, both those that are positive and healing, and those painful have to be lived through. Perhaps that is the gift of being the care giver, it has to be seen to, to the end.
Many people will find that there will be at least one time in their lives where they will be called upon to be a care-giver. This will more than likely be for one’s parents or perhaps a sibling who is dying. Being a care-giver can become a very long, hard, yet rewarding journey. It can also be a dangerous time if self-care is not brought into the experience.
People talk about the Royal-Road of the Unconscious. It is dreams they are talking about. However, I believe that being a caregiver can also be a time of accessing the unconscious because of the emotional strain and stress being a care-giver involves. Days can be planned, a schedule developed, yet each day is unique when taking care of someone full time. Anything can happen. Somedays run smoothly, others can be very chaotic. Patience can be stretched to the limit and there can be times of physical abuse towards the one being cared for, if not dealt with. This last point can be a very hard issue to deal with. Seeking help and being able to lean and forgive oneself is important if that ever happens. If it happens more than once, then it is a ‘sure’ sign that one needs help and needs the humility to ask for it.
Long hours spent in doctors’ offices, or the Emergency-Room can also be exhausting. Interrupted sleep can be common place….exhaustion can become the new-norm. It can cause the caregiver to become house bound and unless some sort of network is formed, isolation can happen.
Inner defense can become weak, so anger, resentment, self-pity and bitterness can become very obvious, calling out to be dealt with. Limitations or experienced as well as the loss of boundaries with the one being cared for. One can experience their lives as a trap, or a hell like existence, again, if self-care is not sought out and received.
This sounds extreme, yet it is a reality, a common one for many.
Inner distress is a call for help. It can be ego shattering forcing our false notions about or capabilities to be brought out during times of deep stress. The ‘Royal Road to the Unconscious” is a painful one and is calling out for some sort of resolution. To ignore this is both detrimental to the caregiver as well as the one be cared for.
What the unconscious presents to us is not truth as such, but what has to be dealt with if one has the humility and courage to do so. It is a call to be truthful with others and most importantly with oneself. Cycles, especially those that lead to deeper suffering are important to give a listening ear to.
The stress can lay low the caregiver, or even lead to death because of all the above. The older the caregiver, the more danger that one place oneself in. Families will often not understand the stress. One reason is that the care-giver can give confusing messages to the family, causing them to often withdraw, thinking they are not needed or wanted in taking care of a loved one.