I’ve been blessed

Published 2:59 pm Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If you ever have the opportunity to be a caregiver, you should try it. It by far will be the most rewarding job you’ll ever have.

There is so much more to get back than there is to give. Remember there maybe times when you cannot find help, but there is no time when you cannot give help.

We take for granted all the blessings we wake up to each day. Think about yourself and what you do daily—what if it was taken away and you were left helpless? What if you couldn’t walk, talk, see? What if your every need had to fall on a loved one to do for you?

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We take so much for granted, sometimes its age that confines us and sometimes it’s a medical situation. Whatever the reason, when you become disabled, your life and happiness depends on the family and friends around you.

Disabilities vary, some patients may have clear minds and failing bodies and some patients may have total loss of mind and body. No one wants to say that caring for someone they love is a burden, but truly it can become one. As your health fails, your needs become more demanding and for the caregivers, it can become overwhelming.

This is when you may have to seek help from outside the circle of family and friends. Life is busy and despite what our love one needs, its not always easy for the family to be accessible. When you have to reach outside the comfort zone for help, it’s hard. Making the right decision to trust with your loved one and in your home is critical.

I have given care to family members, and I was lucky enough to be able to do it with help from family. When care is given with love and respect, life is never so bad at its worst that it is impossible to live and still be happy. To love is to place our happiness in the happiness of another. Being a caregiver has taught me a lot. If there is anything better than to be loved, it is giving love. Caregivers to someone in need become part of the team that meets the patients needs. Their doctors are the life lines and the visiting nurses and hospice teams are the angels on wheels to both the patient and the family.

Hard time coping

I had a hard time coping with the death of my mother, whom I had in my home only for months. I had a friend who worked as a caregiver and she offered me a job as part of her team. I was mad at God and the world because my mom was gone. I had so many plans for us, especially that December 1996 Christmas. She left on Dec. 10.

I didn’t think I had any compassion left to give to another. I said I’d try a weekend first and was sure I would not be happy and I’d gracefully decline the offer. What I didn’t know then but soon realized was that no Christmas I could give my mom on earth would compare to the one she had in Heaven that year!

I met Metha Davis, a 96-year-old retired school teacher. She was only disabled from dementia, it had spoiled the life she once knew. She was loving and caring and so appreciative. She never forgot to say thank you and please. I realized that weekend that I did have something to offer and I realized that God took an angel and gave me another one. I took care of her one week each month until she passed. She is as much a part of me now as she was then. She taught me a lot about life and love. I became part of her and her beautiful family and so long as I live, they live within my heart and soul.

When she passed, again it was hard to lose someone you love. God sent two new lives, two angels—my grandsons named Nate and Nic to replace the two that I had lost. They brought the sunshine and the smiles back into my life. So you see, when God closes a door, he opens a window.

In 2006, I lost my best friend that gave me my job with Ms. Metha. I had known her for about 28 years.

It was hard but I knew that through tragedy and death, I was being taught the blessing of life.

Another opening

Sure enough God open another window.

I got a call from David Hall, whom I had met through Ms. Metha, he was her landlord. He had a friend who desperately needed a caregiver for her husband. Again I wasn’t sure I had what it took this time. I was wrapped up in pity and I wasn’t sure I could love someone else that I knew would leave me eventually. I also knew I had to try and not turn my back on someone in need. David had recommended me and I felt honored to be trusted with his friend.

I met Melanie and her husband, Durell. Melanie was kind and I knew once again, God sent me another blessing. Mr. Durell could walk and talk and do basic things. His neurological problems did not allow him to think and reason clearly. He was a tall, robust man, a gentle giant. I was hooked again. I believe that my friend asked God to send me another blessing and that was Durell and Melanie.

My problems became minor and my heart felt good again. I became a part of this wonderful family. He recently passed and as time went on, he went from walking to a bed. He went from healthy to frail. His needs became greater. He, like Metha, will always live in my heart and soul. Melanie was one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever met to his needs. The love between the two of them excelled everything else. He knew God and he knew each one of his family members, that he was blessed with never losing.

All the moments we laughed and cried about are etched in my heart forever. He knew where his homecoming was going to be and for that now find comfort to go on. I gained so much from my experience as a caregiver, feelings I can never be robbed of. Many times we have to lose something to gain something. Don’t take your blessing for granted.

If you know of someone in need, offer some of your time to help. The award of receiving is way better than what you give.

To the families who chose me, a total stranger, thank you and God Bless, I love you all.

Remember the solutions to all our problems rest in our hearts. No matter what you are down and sad about, your blessings will still outweigh your problems.

God allows tragedy and death to teach us the blessing of life.

Our biggest riches in life is not material things, it is people and love. The greatest tragedy of life is not death but what dies inside us while we live.

Try giving to someone in need and see how rich you become. And yes, for those who know me, I write as I talk—a lot!

The sun is still shining, and I am still smiling—Why—because I can’t wait for the next blessing God sends me.