Having expectations of any kind can be an overlooked and a hidden burden for family caregivers. Learning how to recognize and avoid them can be a lifesaver for you otherwise they can end up causing grief for all parties involved, and mostly for you.
Expectations can come in so many forms and ways; from expecting that you’ll remember all of the things you need to do to hoping that someone will say thank you for doing them. Or perhaps it’s expecting that your Mom’s doctor will look at all of the possibilities of her illness but ending up overlooking the cause. Maybe it is assuming that when it’s time to release her from the skilled nursing facility they will speak to you about her release and follow up care instead of her. I can feel my blood pressure rising as I type.
Expectations can continue after your caregiving days, too. Expecting that at any time the overwhelming grief you’ve been experiencing will diminish ‘this week.’ It’s been six months…surely now…..right? It was a year after Mom passed away that I don’t remember a thing. Gut-wrenching moments dealing with details, yes. But day to day…not one thing. And somehow I expected those painful moments to be long gone, yet they come back with a vengeance at times.
Here is what I have found along the road of life. Don’t expect anything (anticipate problems as best you can; make lists and check them twice). Always do your best (even at your worst, do the best you can). Never assume (that is probably one of the worst). Be in the present moment (B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Meditate (try the meditations we offer our website. The techniques have been a HUGE life shift for me). Communicate (talk about those things you don’t want to in a calm, precise way before letting them fester into outbursts).
Stop expecting, for your own well being and your loved one.