We’ve all heard them – those cringe-worthy comments that are delivered with care, but little experience or understanding. Those phrases that slap a caregiver upside the head and leave one reeling with hurt, confusion and a struggle with faith. Those sentences that are well-meant but not well delivered.
“God must have needed you to slow down.”
“God is just looking for a chance to provide a miracle.”
“If you just have enough faith he’ll be healed.”
“If you spend an hour every morning in prayer…”
“If you would change her diet…
“I have the perfect home remedy for you, you know those medicines are evil…”
“Have you searched your heart for that un-confessed sinf?” And I hear the unspoken: “because obviously your four-year-old doesn’t deserve this so you must have done something.”
These kinds of comments fling themselves at caregivers more often than you’d think. They, along with other pat answers and common consolation phrases jump out of a mouth and crawl around in our heads and there are moments that we want to beg for someone to just BE there. To listen. To cry. To laugh. To go out shopping. To provide a book. To sit with the patient. To smile. To understand.
My sister lost her son in an accident years ago, but every time she meets another mother struggling to walk through life without a child, there is an instant connection, usually involving a hug and some tears.
A friend has a daughter with traumatic brain injury. She has new friends undergoing the same struggles with a child or sibling or spouse.
My mom is coming up on the year anniversary of my dad’s death, and she goes out to eat with some widow friends and sometimes they talk about their spouses, but other times they say nothing at all about it.
I have a new friend, because her son was diagnosed with leukemia in the first week of school (just like mine) and the similarities were haunting. We bonded instantly, but I find myself without words now, because her boy lost his battle with cancer.
A friend had a miscarriage a couple of years ago and wrote her story. The response is huge, all voicing the need to know they’re not alone in their pain.
Anita’s husband is the miracle. Pedro is the one who made it, against all odds, but it has taken Anita time to get over the effects that caregiving creates. She and I developed a bond over the phrases, “Don’t you wish someone would have told us?” and “Can you believe someone actually said that?”
I also have the miracle. My healthy 16-year-old son, while still struggling with some remnant effects of such strong drugs for so many years, is doing great. Oddly, and much against my will, I still find myself wanting to talk about it, or hearing the word leukemia and shuddering, or nodding in sympathy when hearing of anxiety attacks or the inability to sleep because of caregiving.
When I meet another parent of a leukemia patient, we have no shortage of words, understanding nods and hugs.
This is community.
This blog is created for community. We each need a place to know we’re not alone and to hear that we did NOT create whatever catastrophe has struck our loved one. We need to know that we’re not crazy when we can’t sleep and weight gain (or loss) is typical and somehow, some way and some time, we will be okay again.
November is National Caregiver’s month. We are looking for guests to share their journey. Let someone know your story – it might be similar to theirs and you might become that understanding nod, that smile or that hug that someone needs. Sign up to share YOUR STORY here. You might be that voice telling a caregiver that they’re not crazy and definitely not alone!
Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:
1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week.
2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.
3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!
Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).
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