A Hospice Chaplain's Field Guide to Caregiving
Caregiving changed me.
This book is a field guide to caring for yourself and a beloved--at the same time. Some rules might be new to you, or some simply reminders of what you already know to be true.
They are a distillation of eleven years of being with, and watching over my demented diva…because what we went through counts for something.
These rules are about caregiving and giving care as a renewing pair.
My mother did many things well. She also screwed up. (Hey, human being here...). She also didn't let the bastards get her down...and neither will I because I promised...and I know better. (I also know that some of these scary storms are of my own making. Oops.) However, I have grieved and healed enough to see the arc of a new story which is about renewal in the garden of change.
I am finally ripe enough to see—it is my time too (and always has been to my surprise...). Like appassimento grapes on the vine, I am happy here, and eager for my next step—even if it turns out to be crushing.(Ahem, that's a wine joke—not whiny.)
Seriously, it is good to laugh and at the same time, life and death is no laughing matter. I believe that my rules will help you, navigate a lighter, healthier path in the valley in which people-who-love and show up, eventually find ourselves. My rules are gifts to you; they will support you in growing a better life right now—wherever you find yourself.
Whether you are one of the 44 million, unpaid caregivers on duty in the U.S.A. right now, or on the other side of those trenches in the loss of a love, it is your season too.
Life is lived within this garden of change. It's never too late to plant seeds of a life you came here to live—a garden of your own.
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Until then, please peruse the Taking Care blog posts. I write them for you...(and me) because we all need a little support in this garden of change.
Welcome. Thank you for reaching out, (however you got to this place—and this page in the digital ethers).
If you are in the middle of caregiving an elder or a loved one, or missing someone who you have cared about, I can help. Caregiving (and caring) changes everything. It changed me—teaching some tough and gentle lessons.
It's not easy, in fact it is dangerous work.
My journey may look a lot like yours...(or not) but in the end—when we put our heads down on the pillow one last time—it's all about the same. We all want to live a good life. I'm not talking as a hospice chaplain (but I am that). I am talking about a life well lived...and that, my friend, is about bounce.
Resilience in the trenches is the goal for which the Field Guide was created.
I have opened (and closed) five businesses in my life because my mother taught me how. She modeled brinksmanship and entrepreneurial survival skills—so I might navigate in a world she saw as none-too-friendly-a-place for smart, independent women. She embodied the 'Lean In' lesson a couple of generations before there was a femme techie term for it.
These are brave ventures and worth doing but by far the most difficult valley of my life was the eleven years I spent caregiving my diva—my mother. We all have our 'bottom' stories (or will have them if you're here on the planet a while). They are the inevitable booms and busts of being embodied...and of showing up. Caregiving changes everything.
Caregiving changes the planet.
girlQuantum—a time-traveling Memoir of a Better Remembering
Release date: Spring 2018.
I like the recent quote above about legacy and focus (and the rest of Carolyn Myss' TEDx Talk too).
There is suffering in the stories of caregiving. It's just part of it. Our upcoming memoir—that of my mother and myself—is no exception. In the end, we overcame the fear. Love won. I made a new life...one that fits me now.
THIS story, however, is NOT the story of the Field Guide . The memoir is how I found my rules for renewal.
May they support you, as they do me—everyday, in the growth and weeding of a life well lived.
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