As I navigate my way like a race car driver through Bay Area traffic, I can feel the energy of people needing to be in control and get to their destination quickly. Just this week I caught myself feeling like I needed to ramp up to that energy as well and then I took a few long breaths and thought about my visits with a dear friend.
My friend had a mastectomy recently and is currently going through chemo treatments. A journey of so many layers and we’ve been able to have some very in-depth conversations about how we all go about life, what’s important, our relationships and how we speak to each other. It’s so easy to get caught up in the minutia of events and get off track.
As a family caregiver with so many emotions that both you and your loved one go through, listening becomes critical. Not genuinely hearing what the other person is saying and not voicing your feelings calmly and effectively can be debilitating. This article; How to Become a Better Listener talks about the authors' relationship with her soon to be husband, but the tools are equally as useful for any relationship, and I do believe especially as a family caregiver.
I thought of caring for my mom when I read; “Sometimes it can take folks a while to put their words together, especially if you’re having a difficult conversation. Try your best to sit and listen without interjecting.” I remember not having been caring for myself how I was tired, stressed and not listening and wanting to jump right in with what I thought was right in conversations. It’s just not fair to do that, to anyone. And ultimately you suffer as well. Take time to read through this; I think you’ll find a few ‘ah-ha’s!
In closing, I want to extend a tremendous amount of gratitude to Bay Area Cancer Connections and what they have done to support my friend on her journey. Everyone there is fantastic, and they have a wealth of services to offer both the patient and the caregiver. I do hope you’ll reach out if the need arises or pass along their information to someone that needs it.
I also hope that you’ll join us or spread the word about our family caregiver walks hosted by the Bay Area Cancer Connections. These leisurely hour walks are made just for you to be able to get out, enjoy fresh air and connect with other family caregivers. It is one of the most potent/refreshing ways you can start off your weekend. More information and to sign up is on the Breathing Spaces website.
Life shows up with extraordinary gifts when you slow down long enough to hear and see them. It is my hope, you take the time, to B-R-E-A-T-H-E.