In the life of a family caregiver, getting it ‘right’ can often be a pressure that you put on yourself regardless of what ‘role’ you you may have in the care of your loved one. Making decisions on their behalf or determining the next best step can be a lot of pressure. And the aftermath of it all if your loved one passes away can bring you to your knee’s ripping part everything you’ve done. Was it enough? Should I have….? Could I have…?
Perfection is a lofty goal for any of us. It’s a complex that I struggled with for years during and after caregiving and I worked very hard at letting it go because you know, it just doesn’t exist. In the book by Don Miguel Ruiz; The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is “Always do your best.” As a family caregiver and a person in day-to-day life, that’s all you can do.
Conversations I’ve had with other caregivers lead to the same feedback that they find themselves in a mixing bowl of do’s and don’ts. Should you have the conversation with your loved one about what they are feeling, emotionally not just physically? Yes, by all means, yes. And keeping a journal of those conversations can be a tremendous gift for you to go back to as a reference or after they’ve passed when you are re-examining the ‘what-ifs.’
When you wake up in the morning put your feet on the floor, take a deep breath and repeat “This is a new day with new possibilities.” Erase the day before, erase the ‘should have’ and ‘shouldn't have’ doubts and start a new.