I am not a researcher, but I am an observer of people. What I have observed in my personal and professional life is there are phases we go through with grief. They aren’t linear because grief isn’t neat and orderly. I refer to these phases as grief, growth, and grit.
It doesn’t matter whether you are a caregiver by choice, by default, or by profession; my guess is that all of you – most of you – have hit that point. It’s a point you were sure you’d never get to because you were finding ways to balance your life, or so you thought. Meanwhile, underneath was a ‘live’ gopher hole undermining your existence. You felt yourself crumbling under the right circumstances or among the group of people you could usually talk to. Yet you somehow managed to mask the real emotions that were happening.
We talk so much about caring for our beloved elders, our extremely young family members, and our loved ones who have special needs, that sometimes we forget about one of the most common variations of family caregiver: those who are caring for our partners. I like to think of this kind of care as a different dialect within the language of love.
Much like a tornado, the storm of overwhelm can rage up from nowhere and blow you off your feet. Much like a hurricane the emotions and energy that occur when we are near our breaking point are powerful and chaotic. Becoming in tune with our feeling – emotional, physical, and spiritual – is a crucial balancing mechanism providing the early warning signal that tells us things are mounting up. As with intense weather systems, it is critical that we prepare: we must find that balance before the emotional storm takes over.