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Acknowledging Your Loved Ones Feelings

One Saturday morning last year a woman by the name of Marie came to my support group in Largo, Florida.  She was the only person that came that day and like I always say "Who ever is suppose to be there, will."

The woman was very distraught.  Her mother had recently passed away and she had moved here to care for her dad, who was a really angry man. Her parents had moved here 3 months earlier from Georgia and her mom died shortly after, very unexpectedly.  She herself was single and experiencing some financial problems so her brothers and sisters figured it would be best for her to move and take care of dad.  I call these women the "designated daughters."  She had never even visited Florida before and was confused and lonely with no knowledge of the area or resources. 

We talked for almost 2 hours that day and she became a regular at my support groups and workshops.  

A few months later, she phoned me. "I have a story to tell you Linda and I am so excited."

Recently her sister had come to visit.  She was very surprised to see how well her sister was adjusting to her new role as caregiver.  

"You look wonderful !  What are you doing?" Her sister exclaimed.

"I have been attending some support groups and workshops for caregivers. 

Through them I have also been able to find out about resources for dad." Marie answered.

"That's great." dad scowled.

They told me that I need to take care of myself if I am going to be able to take care of dad so, one of the things I do is go for a one hour walk every day.  don't care if it is hot or even raining, I make sure I go for my walk." 

Her dad sitting in his wheelchair then muttered, "Well isn't that good for you ! It's nice somebody can walk!"

Her sister replied, "I came here to have a nice visit and if you are going to be so negative dad, then we are going to talk in the other room."

"Go ahead, I don't care!" the dad replied

The sisters went into the next room but dad kept listening . 

"One of the best things I have been doing is attending a caregiver journaling group.  I can get my feelings out in a non-judge mental area.  I can share if I want or I can keep it to myself." Marie shared.

With that dad yelled from the other room, "It's great, some one around here can get their feelings out!"

"Dad, we are here to help you in any way we can."  The sisters said in unison as they went to their dad's side. 

"Do you think you would like to journal?" Marie asked. 

"Maybe" he replied. 

They gave him a black and white notebook.  About an hour later he wrote down one sentence.  Three hours later he scribbled another sentence.  He did this on and off for three days.  

On the fourth day he handed them the book.  "Here, now you can see how I feel!"

The sisters open the book and read.....

I am so tired.

I am so tired of being a burden to my family.

I am so tired of taking so many pills.

I am so tired of not being able to go out.

I am so tired of not being able to eat what I want...  Etc, etc 

The sisters felt heart broken. 

"Dad you're not a burden to us.  You held down three jobs when we were kids to keep food on the table.  We want to take care of you in any way we can." 

"Maybe you are taking too many pills.  We will go to the doctor with you and see what we can do about this." 

The sisters went through the entire list acknowledging dad's feelings. 

"Things have been so much better with dad since then Linda.  In fact, he would like to know if he can come to your next journaling workshop." 

I was jumping for joy.  "Sure, bring him next week." 

The next week Marie pushed her 90 year old dad, Joe in his wheelchair into the group.  He was beaming.  He shared with the group his first journal entries and then proceeded to share his new ones..... 

"I am so glad I have a family that loves and cares for me.  I am so glad I am not taking as many pills.  I am so glad when Marie goes for her walk I can join her." 

Yipeeeeeee!

Joe is now writing short stories about his childhood.  His family loves hearing his stories and sharing with him. 

Please do not forget to acknowledge the feelings of your loved one!  I guarantee it will make your caregiving journey more joyful. 

P.S.  Joe is Italian and from Brooklyn and he brought me the best meatballs I have ever eaten.

 

 

 

 

 



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