wings and things

Caring for the carer

on September 10, 2016

I am on the brink of facilitating a couple of carer support meetings, so I thought this would be a good place to air some of my thoughts beforehand.

Carers/care-givers – who care for and/or about loved ones who suffer from diseases like Dementia – are, according to the latest research findings, amongst the loneliest people in western society. The loneliest people are, of course, those with Dementia, especially those in care, like my husband, Anthony.

I have always loved being alone and am comfortable with solitariness. I am not naturally gregarious but I do enjoy the company of friends. Until recently, I have never actually felt lonely, but now I do – acutely. I miss Anthony being home with me, with Ming, milking the cows, chopping firewood, lighting the Aga, cooking steak on the barbecue, washing the car, watching ‘The Bill’, snuggling up in the big bed with toddler Ming in the middle.

But these memories are now nearly two decades old. More recent memories are stark with the years of frustration, avoidance, anger, sorrow, exhaustion – mine mostly. Having to quit my job in order to take my husband to the toilet, to stop him from falling over, to hide the car keys so he wouldn’t try to drive, to turn taps off that he’d left running, to open the vegemite jar when he couldn’t….

For awhile Ants and I hid what was going on from little Ming but it wasn’t long before Ming had to help out. I became so exhausted that I ended up in hospital and after that Ming and I shared the night shifts with Anthony.

And then – years later – the nursing home decision, the subsequent paradox of guilt and relief and now – more years later – the ongoing grief and loneliness. I miss him so much!

I am very glad to have the opportunity to facilitate these carer support groups because I have developed a few ways of coping better than I used to. Until I became involved, as a volunteer, with these groups, I had no idea that there might be some support for carers out there somewhere. If I can be a part of this, I will be so glad!



17 responses to “Caring for the carer

  1. Anonymous says:

    The fact that you are prepared to use you experience and pain, to assist others who are also caring for their loved ones, is a testament to your character and courage. No one is better qualified both by experience and personal qualities of courage and love, than you, my amazing daughter. Ming too, a young man to be proud of.

  2. wish you had had this when things started getting tough–good for you for helping others out..

  3. It’s such a good idea. Those who care for and have to watch the decline of a loved one, have so many emotions that others don’t necessarily see. They need someone to vent these to, that really understand and can give some help on coping….. Diane

  4. dogdaz says:

    Your words cut so deep and are so clear and true. There is nothing as lonely as when life turns in a way that you are the one that most hold up another’s head, for a very long time. Sharing your wisdom, and struggle, definitely could help others and yourself. I am constantly in awe of your words. You have many gifts. Thanks for giving me a window into your life – Lorian

  5. Lynda says:

    It is definitely much needed and you will be brilliant at it, Julie.
    ~Love you~

  6. susanpoozan says:

    Well done for seeing the need and doing something about it, good luck.

  7. And until one has walked in your shoes, one can never ever truly understand. Take care of you, Julie. .. those who attend your groups will be lucky to have you share. Much love.

  8. well done for making a positive out of your situation. you are an inspiration

  9. aphinarose says:

    You are such an inspiration, full of wisdom and wit. Anyone at a meeting with you will return home lighter and full of hope.

  10. Good for you Julie, you have the experience and understanding and empathy to do this. ❤
    Diana xo

  11. janeslog says:

    There is a lot of support for people in the UK. There is also a good website which you may find useful as there are good articles on it. I only know this because my friend cares for her mother.

  12. You have the best heart Jules! Hugs xxxxx

  13. I love my alone time, but I don’t know how I will be if Tim dies before me and I don’t have him around

  14. Anonymous says:

    Oh what a beautiful idea. Keep sharing your experience as you begin this group. It will be a true blessing to so many!

  15. lensgirl53 says:

    You will be a mighty blessing to all those who need your encouragement. God wants us to give hope and comfort to others who are hurting just as He has done for us. As I read your yearnings for things past it made me think of how I also do this… heart knows your pain. God bless all your kind efforts to help others.❤️

  16. Michelle M Burns says:

    You are so wonderful… I wish we weren’t thousands of miles away. I’d love to visit with you, over a cup of tea! My hugs, prayers and love to you and your sweet Ants and Ming ❤

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: