Have you ever had a week (or month, or year) that left you weary? No? Just me then? I have a sneaky suspicion we’ve all been there.
Last week was such a week. After a few days of extra “running” with my dad (on top of my part-time job) including an appointment, lab work, and an order and prescription not getting from one place to another, I was asked by a pharmacy tech if I was okay. To which, I teared up. To which, she offered me a sucker. Oh, bless her heart, dear Jesus. It was far more than the sucker, it was an acknowledgment of my hard day…week.
Honestly, I’ve been reluctant to consider myself a caregiver for my only living parent. I’ve come to realize, through words of a friend, that just because he doesn’t live with me or require supervision, I’m still a caregiver.
Most of the time, besides calling every day and visiting a few times a week, he is self-sufficient and living in an independent-living apartment. Yet, doctor appointments, keeping track of medications, phone calls to make, and insurance issues tire me.
I’m not complaining, at all. In fact, I’m very thankful I can be the one to help him in his later years. I’ve learned so much from him, laughed with him, and sat with him.
However, I want to, hopefully, encourage others who find themselves caring for a parent, child, or anyone needing extra help because . . .
It is hard.
I find myself being torn between my family and him.
And, often I am ashamed of the feelings of frustration. The feeling of selfishness when I think, oh great, one more thing to do. I’m not perfect, and neither are you, oh weary one trying to hold it all together. Only Jesus is the perfect One. And, that is something I need to remind myself of quite often when I’m in the midst of it all.
Last week, as I headed to my dad’s apartment before I needed to be at work, Pieces by Bethel Music echoed through the van. This is not a new-to-me song, however, the first verse caught my attention that early morning. I actually wondered, as I hit the “back button” (I’m sure that is the technical term), is this a version with different words?
The lovely voice of Steffany Gretzinger sang:
Your love is wild
Your love is wild for me
It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed
Your love is proud
To be seen with me
‘Cause You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us
It was like a lifeline as waves churned around me.
I played that verse over and over, allowing it to sink in, eventually floating in His love.
God loves us, no matter what we think, say, or act out in frustration. He doesn’t leave us when we wonder if we are worthy of anyone’s love. His love is perfect.
Hence, I declare Pieces, by Bethel Music, our February song of the month (video below).
If you are a caregiver, whether full-time, part-time or on-call, recognize this job is hard. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling – it doesn’t mean you don’t love that person any less.
And, please do not isolate yourself. You need others to encourage you, cheer you on, and remind you about self-care (something that isn’t natural for most of us). Take others up on their offers of help (another thing I’m terrible at doing). Never forget God is holding you through it all – communication with the King is key.
You’re doing the hard thing. And in your love for that person, you’re doing the hard well.