When a loved one is ill, its expected to receive compassion. We accept it and continue to try and sort out what to do and how we can get up in the morning and start over again. There is no wright or wrong.
Today I had lunch with a friend, reconnecting with her calmed me. She is still in the eddy of the care system for her dad.
I could say that I don’t know how she does it but that would be a lie. I do know how she does it. I did it. I have to admit to myself that I was much better then. When I too was looking after B every day. I had such purpose! Such intensity for making sure that he was given his dignity with everything! When you have not had to do it you don’t understand the importance of not leaving food on their face for even a second. When you wipe, you first ask permission to do so. You don’t just roughly wipe their face like you would a child. Today so many images and feeling are filling my mind to the brim. I selfishly miss him. I want him in my arms. I want to feel his hand on my head, but to have this would mean that he would have to be back in a terrible place. No amount of missing him would I want that. Instead I will try and continue to paint him and sculpt him. I will write about him for when I do all these things, I HAVE HIM WITH ME.
When I was in the eddy I did receive much compassion, but only the few knew how to commit. I do not lay blame! Not at all. Perhaps Its in blogs like this that I can let people know some of the do’s and dont’s of supporting a friend or family member in need.
1] To say you understand does not help unless you have been in it.
2] To give advice like saying ‘you need to take time for yourself’ Is quite possibly the WORST AND MOST INSULTING ….thing you could ever say.
3] Never say YOU HAVE TO GET ON WITH YOUR LIFE for our life is that loved one we look after.
4] The best thing you can offer is to replace us completely for that hour or two. If your not prepared to do so then don’t ….tell us to do it!
5] NEVER… EVER speak to us as if they were not there! Because they are in a bed or in a wheelchair does not mean ….they no lover exist. Doctors and many staff are fond of this. Does he want? does he need? How is he feeling?
It amazes me how we turn the ill into these INVISIBLE PEOPLE .
6] You should not have to want family to be more supportive. Some are there 100% while others seem afraid that this illness will somehow attach themselves to their clothing.
Having lunch today made me feel lonesome for the simplicity of just being there for someone. There is such incredible beauty in the silence of looking after someone you love.
This week I completed a painting of B and I. With every stroke of the brush I was actually touching his forehead, combing his hair and beard. From my mind to the canvas I was back with him.
7] There is NOTHING WRONG with Grieving. Let us do it!
….I was with B for 32 years when he crossed over. How in gods name do people expect me to be over him, and on with a happy life after only 18 months?
Everyone is in such a hurry these days. They all rush around like chickens without their heads on! They want and want more but all the buying of things will not fill your heart of love.
I will not hurry this.
I have earned every rhymed word of sorrow. I have earned every tear that streams down my face and fills my heart. What I feel is not pain. I feel that I am metamorphosing. To what I don’t know yet.
I do know that if I follow my gut and let the metamorphose complete, it will be the right thing.
This photo is of a sculpture that I have created called ‘Compassion without Commitment’.