There are so many kinds of care givers.
Cinnamon toast and baked apples were my Mom’s specialty when I was little and stayed home from school with the flu. She always made-up the living room couch like it was an extension of my bed with warm blankets and my favorite pillow too. I think she put me in the living room so she could easily keep an eye on me…not that I would ever fake not feeling well so I wouldn’t have to go to school!!!! Perish the thought! Her care giving came so naturally.
With Leroy’s illness, my care giving skills went from basic to advanced in what felt like a heartbeat. He was not the most patient patient. Following his colon cancer surgery, I followed my Mom’s lead, and made-up our couch for him. I figured getting him out of bed and into a different room with a wide view of the outdoors would inspire him to get up and out quickly. The theory backfired on me. He wouldn’t sit still.
When his cancer returned and treatment was much more demanding, I let him take the lead on what he needed. I wanted him to be in control of his life as much as possible and for him, that was the right thing to do. He was an independent man. I think he always knew my shoulder was there for him to lean on, my heart was always there for him to talk to and my head was always tuned in to what was best for him. We worked together and that was the most important part of living with his cancer struggle. It was care giving 101.
Being a care giver is walking a fine line of control and release….right up to the end.