Monday, February 15, 2010

Caregiver Courage

Straight talk from a caregiver about guilt, fatigue, even the feeling that you wish your loved one would hurry up and die – these are the kinds of stories that I discovered in a blog I happened across this morning. is a blog written by Lois Kelly about her caregiving experience for her dying mother. It’s written with love and humor; it definitely touched some of my own caregiving nerves.

Here’s one entry I love: “Big “C” and small “c” caregiver courage.”  Ms. Kelly describes the kind of courage we see on TV with the rescue of a small boy from open water: “…screams of victory. Women and men crying. Dogs barking. The parents heaving, gulping frigid sobs as the EMTs wrap the boy in a silver space blanket, lift him in their arms and run to the ambulance.”

On the other hand, there’s caregiver courage – the kind that doesn’t make the evening news. Kelly describes it this way:

“The day-in, day-out caring for someone who is sick is courage, too, but small “c” courage. There’s no glamour. No big momentous event. No crowds cheering you on, slapping you on the back after you help the person you love inch his or her way into the bathroom at 3 a.m. Waiting outside the bathroom door, ready to help the person slowly, slowly get back into bed. This courage won’t make the six o’clock news. It won’t win special awards or recognition. It won’t even deserve a conversation when people check in with you tomorrow.”

Caregiver courage doesn’t get the recognition that big-screen courage gets. But at the end of the day, as Kelly says,

“This small “c” courage is Love. Love with a capital ‘L.’”

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