“There’s nothing anyone can do to help you!”
That was more or less the message we were given when Ben arrived in our lives, having been born with severe, complex disabilities.
No one actually said those words, of course, but that was what we were left with at almost every turn.
The conversations were mainly focused on all of Ben’s “problems” and how there really wasn’t a fix to those problems.
It was easy to get caught up in all that negativity, to believe that’s all there was. For a long time, we had no idea what path to follow, or if a path existed at all.
With so few giving us much hope, we relied on brute force to get things done and help Ben succeed.
After a few years of that exhausting pace, where it was just me and Jan against the world, so-to-speak, we realized we needed help. We couldn’t do this all our own.
It wasn’t good for our health.
It wasn’t good for our relationship.
And our kids were certainly not getting the best of their Mom and Dad.
So, we figured out how to bring in a caregiver for Ben.
In the beginning, it was only for a few hours a day but it was the start of “giving up control” and entrusting others to support Ben.
It was a big adjustment, and a lot of work to get it right. But it was the right thing to do.
Because when you find a great caregiver to support your child, your loved one, and your family, your whole life changes.
Many of your fears are forever lifted.
Your anxiety level is dramatically slashed.
You’re way more thankful for the good things you have in your life.
You believe that you ARE blessed, that you haven’t been abandoned.
Your confidence is restored.
You can let your guard down.
You can start dreaming … that maybe more is possible.
Mainly, there is a new freedom. That you don’t have to be their hands and feet, all the time!
We’ve had caregivers support Ben (and us) for nearly 3 decades, and I can tell you that those feelings are real, and always energizing.
You can’t get enough of them.
When you have a great caregiver in your life, you sometimes forget about your child’s or loved one’s health issues because all their needs are so well met.
It can almost feel like they have complete independence, since everything works so well.
That’s not an exaggeration.
Once your caregivers are trained and know the routine, they often can do it better than you.
It’s at that moment a transformation happens.
It’s at that moment you experience that new freedom, when you don’t have to be “ON” all the time!
This freedom was made real again for me last week when I was away for a few days. One evening, I used the webcam app on my phone to peek on Ben.
He was sleeping so soundly.
I didn’t need to be there to make that happen. His great caregiver (who was new) handled everything.
I could have my time recharge. And he was fine, and independent (with her support).
The message that “there’s nothing anyone can do to help you” was dead wrong.
At the end of the day, there are lots of things people can do to help you. And lots of people who can help!
If you are family caregiver, I would love to help you experience that new freedom. Send me a quick email to [email protected] and we'll get started.