Friday, March 1, 2013

A Caregiver's Prayer

I'm a support worker, that's what I do for a living.  I've worked in care pretty much all of my adult life, with children for a while, and now with my own children, as well as having worked in long-term care facilities with persons with mental disabilities. Very simple work, nothing glamorous. I help people get their breakfast, help people with their personal care, help people take their medications. If I'm being honest, I've often wondered if I should be doing something more with my life, trying to climb that golden ladder so to speak. Maybe I'm a slacker, or maybe I was influenced by Jean Vanier in my early twenties, who talked about going down the ladder, so I never bothered going up the ladder in the first place haha. So here I am, on the bottom, approaching 40, staring at the ladder occasionally and wondering. But whenever a college flyer comes by I find I skim through it, through the bulk of IT programs or business courses and I think yuck, I don't want to do that! And I find myself drawn as usual to the little artsy sections, and the social service programs, that I seem to have learned the hard way anyway. So here I am, with my heart in the same place, a caregiver at home and at work, 24/ 7, and I probably wouldn't change all that much.

Over the years, many of the people who I've gotten close to in my work have been getting older.  Most of them have passed away now. My middle daughter Susie, is named for one of those little down syndrome people who have a way of stealing my heart. My goodness Susie (the first) was stubborn, just like my kids, just like me. There was no way I was going to get Susie (the first) to do anything that she did not want to do, and that was the end of it. She would sit down, cross her legs, begin to ever so slowly shake her head, say no once, firmly, and begin to rock back and forth, back and forth while she stared off into space... and then she would ignore me haha. Maybe she taught me something, because when I was younger I think I had this idea that I could change people, and I was wrong. Boy was I wrong haha.  I remember one day getting heck from a medical secretary for not getting Susie to an appointment, and being young I had no idea what to say.  Now I might suggest she come on over and try herself haha. Or better yet, the day another individual was refusing her oxygen, while her oxygen levels were going through the floor, so you call an ambulance at a doctor's insistence, and then you get heck from the paramedics. Whaddaya' do?

Anyway, but you know over the years I've developed a little motto," I do my best, and God does the rest." Because I've found that when I try to do everything, when I try to be everything to other people, even thinking about expectations sometimes I get overwhelmed, because I can't do it all. Sigh. I can't do it all.  I can't be all things to all people, I can't be everything for my kids. I can't be everything at work. I get tired, and then I get cranky.  But as a mother, I tell my kids all the time, your mom's not perfect, but your mom loves you, and hope it's enough. And here's where my little apologetic comes in, when I hear people say, religion is a crutch, religion is a crutch for weak people, I say right on! It most definitely is, because people need support, people have emotional and spiritual needs that a neck-up ideology doesn't begin to acknowledge let alone begin to offer comfort for a dying child. People who work in care know that any strength that human beings have is temporary, we are born weak needing care and we will die weak,  if we're lucky, in the arms of someone who cares for us. And some people need life long care. Heck, we all need life long care, from doctors, from nurses, from friends, from loved ones, from our grocer, to our banker, to our plumber to a farmer for our mechanic. Few of us could survive completely on our own. There's nothing wrong with having spiritual needs, emotional needs, it's what makes us human. I was driving by a church in my neighborhood a few weeks ago and there on their little billboard was my slogan, or one very similar and I thought hey, they stole my motto haha.  I smiled and nodded, repeating "I do my best, God does the rest," quietly as a little prayer for all the caregivers among us.

This one's for you,

Margaret Ann Harvey

1 comment:

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