Every Caregiver Needs at Least One Loyal Friend

Caregivers Need a Loyal Friend

Every caregiver needs one loyal friend who has journeyed through a season of caregiving. I found mine when I took a writing class one summer and ended up sitting next to one of my husband’s former classmates from high school. We knew each other, but not well.

After a writing exercise one morning, the professor told us to exchange papers with the person sitting next to us. I had surreptitiously dabbed at tears whilst I wrote, and it frightened me to hand my words over to an almost stranger. As I read her words, I knew I had nothing to worry about.

We shared a story that gave us an instant connection: cancer caregiving. Her son was on the recovery end of a battle with childhood leukemia. My husband had lived three years longer than anyone expected him to after his diagnosis with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma with central nervous system involvement.

Both of us had written about our struggles with recovering from the caregiving. Unless you’ve experienced the trauma of taking care of a loved one through a lift-threatening illness, the term ‘recovering caregiver’ won’t make a lot of sense.

Since that day, we have encouraged each other in our healing, written about our experiences, blogged about them and whined to each other via instant messaging about everything from our bad hair days to what-should-I-do-about-that-jerk-at-work.

Be a Loyal Friend

Carol has remained loyal through all of my ‘Oh-I-think-I-need-to-change-the-blog-look’ moments as well as my ‘It’s-October-and-don’t-you-want-to-do-a-write-31-days-series’ urgings.

She makes me think and gives me perspective and she gets me. We only see each other every couple of years (or more), but she’s loyal even when I frustrate her. I know I have a prayer partner and a disaster/writing/teaching/parenting buddy to talk to whenever I need a little mortal support.

Your loyal friends don’t have to live next door or even in the same town. But I’m convinced that we all need at least one. We have to cultivate the relationship (something I don’t do enough of) and keep things confidential. Having a friend who has traveled the same road you’re on sure makes life a lot easier!

So thank you, Carol, for being my loyal friend.  God has blessed me by putting you in my life!

What about you? Do you have a loyal friend who has journeyed the same road you’ve traveled? How do you support each other?

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • Julie Lefebure

    Amen, my friend. I couldn’t agree more with you. Every caregiver does need a loyal friend who has journeyed the same path. I didn’t have one when I cared for my parents, but I’ve been able to be one for others, especially since I understood some of that path. Great writing, Anita. Always a joy to visit you!

    • I’m so glad that your experience has opened your heart to help others–we all need mortal support from those who love and know God!

  • Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    So very true! I did have my turn of duty as a caregiver – gunman turned nurse, which was not really comfortable for the patient. Still I did my best, and not having close friends I kept my own counsel…and it was tough. Best to have a shoulder to cry on…and an accountability partner for when one feels one hasn’t measured up.

    #2 at FMF this week.


    • I’ve come to the conclusion that if we follow God’s urging, we ‘measure up’–he’s doing the equipping and what he’s asking us to do, so it’s always good enough :).

  • Alice

    It’s a blessing you have such a loyal friend! I have to admit that besides my husband (who is the BEST I can ask for) I don’t have any loyal friends.

    • :(. I think it takes a lot of time and effort and prayer to find a loyal friend. Being an introvert makes it difficult for me to have a lot of friends. I really appreciate those that God has put into my life. I’m praying that he brings you a few loyal friends, Alice.

  • great post anita…and so true! love it.

    • Thanks, Martha :).

  • Amber Taube

    My loyal friend lives in another country! I don’t care for anyone ill but I do consider myself a caregiver to my babies and our budding ministry here in Nepal! She doesn’t understand most of what we go through but she is loyal. Thankful for these friends, for you and for me, and how their encouragement molds our ministries.

    Amber #5 on FMF this week

    • Living in Nepal must be so difficult for you and your family. May God bless you and lead you to someone who has ‘been there, done that’ who can ‘get’ what you’re going through and provide a source of encouragement!

  • Pingback: Five Minute Friday: LOYAL()

  • So very true, Anita. Thanks for sharing the story of how you entered each other’s life, and at just the right time. I’d say it was ordained 🙂

  • Wonderful post, Anita! It is true that we all need a loyal friend to push along in life when we need to keep on. Both you & Carol are blessed to have each other. But I would also add, you have blessed us all with this blog, encouraging so many of us who are caretakers. I have been blessed to find the writings of you both. Thank you for sharing your friendship with us all! Blessings!

    • Thank you, Joanne! I’m glad that our experiences have helped others–it’s good to hear affirmation of our project!

  • Susan

    I love this for so many reasons. Perfect post, Anita….

    • Thanks, Susan :).

  • Shauna Blaak

    This is beautiful! Ten years ago, we moved from Canada to South Africa and I felt the pain of separation from my loyal friends. Today, I can truly say that my heart beats on both sides of the planet. Loyalty and love grow wherever we water them.
    Shauna (#14 this week)

    • I love that! “Loyalty and love grow wherever we water them”.

  • Tara Ulrich

    A loyal friend….YES! It is so important. I’m over in the 35 spot this week.

  • Anita, this is such a beautiful story of friendship! I love it! I’m in the #51 spot. Blessings!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Gayl!

  • Anna Smit

    Beautiful! Thank You, LORD for the incredible gift of friendship in Him. And yes, we sure do need those friends as we walk our hard…more than we often realize. Love how God connected you two. Thank you for this beautiful encouragement.

    • Amen! We need godly friends for so many reasons!

  • Carol

    Ok Anita. It has taken me a bit to respond because every time I think I will, the tears come again. I have never once wavered in my belief that God brought us together when we didn’t even know we were looking for each other. We didn’t ask for our caregiving journey and we didn’t ask to be writing buddies, but every time I think of you, I smile. Because you are my God-given blessing and I cherish our friendship. We are very different, you and I, but in that difference comes the strength we offer each other. Thank you, my friend. You are precious and wonderful!

    • 🙂 God always has a plan, even when we don’t understand! Thanks for sticking with me on this journey!