Sigh. Pause. Breathe. Some days, you may feel like you're holding on to the last moment of peace when one more thing jolts you—time for a meltdown. Sometimes you can see it coming; other times things show up like a brick wall and take you off-center. You cannot always control what happens – they are part of life. As much as we all like endless days of calm with everything falling into place, life can have other ideas.
I would imagine most of us have heard the adage “This too shall pass.” Because the phrase is so familiar, so mundane and ordinary, we tend overlook the power of its eternal truth. The phrase reminds us of the impermanence of all things and the idea that nothing lasts forever, neither the good nor the bad things.
I sit here, waiting on news about my boyfriend's father in the emergency room at Starbucks - hot cocoa in hand. Living through a scenario that began last night, I've been through many times before with my parents. A coughing spell led to chest congestion that he swears he didn't have. When he came close to falling last night, it became clear that at the age of ninety-one, a trip to the doctor would be in order.
New Beginnings don’t happen all at once. They can be a soft accumulation of things that have been brewing for a long time. A New Beginning can be adjusting to the new role of a caregiver; a role that you might not have chosen, but it chose you.
I have had conversations with many people lately who are going through rough patches with their health while caring for someone else and feeling great uncertainty in the world as a whole.
There are three stages of transitions: Letting Go of the Old Way, the In-Between, and Accepting the New Way. These stages are not linear and logical. We move back and forth, they overlap, are fluid and sometimes we have several transitions going on at one time.
Remote caregiving was often spotlighted as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the early days when much of the world was in some sort of lockdown, but the reality is that those of us who don't live near our parents are often faced with providing care and support from afar, and while it may seem easy from outside, it's really very challenging in its own way.
Then it happens; your loved one is admitted to the hospital and decisions need to be made about whether to go on to a care home or perhaps hire in-home care.
I recently found a different way. The caregiving after-effects can run long and deep. Just when you think you've got it neatly tucked away, it whirls back up like a tornado. Perhaps it's the 7th anniversary of mom passing, approaching along with the recent (and somewhat unpleasant) dealings of my brother's estate when he passed late last year. Perhaps, it's those little, tiny emotions that are tucked neatly in the back of my psyche that, even though I continue my practices, were still knocking. None of this was ruining my life, days, or decisions, but it was a constant, subtle, poke or prickle.
It is a great feeling to get things accomplished, but things can slip when you have put the pedal to the metal throughout your whole day. It is crucial, especially when you're going full speed or feeling run down, to become aware of the need to stop and check in with how you are mentally/emotionally feeling. Reacting negatively from a drained mind and body can happen quickly when you're worn down, and will likely cause you to say or do something you'll regret later.