As caregivers, experiencing loss is one of the most devastating times in our lives.
You may have spent one year or 10 years being a caregiver. The time doesn’t really matter when it comes to losing someone you’ve cared for.
The moment your loved one is in imminent danger of dying you may start trying to think of ways to help them stay just a little longer. Is that right or wrong? I can’t speak for others. I do know in my own situation when my mother was determined “imminent” care status, that meant it was only a matter of time before she would be gone. I did labor over that word, imminent, but I also knew she had suffered much too long and I needed to be the one to let her go.
Letting a loved one go isn’t easy, it’s actually pretty torturous. I began to feel guilt creeping in because I made the decision to “let her go”. Guilt can be unrelenting for caregivers. So many times throughout your caregiving years you’ve probably felt guilty for not visiting enough, not calling more regularly, feeling angry about being the caregiver and then finally having to let go of the one you love.
Now, in our current times, caregivers are experiencing a different kind of loss. We may be asking the proverbial “why?”, but it doesn’t change a thing. The fact caregivers aren’t allowed to visit their loved ones in memory care or other nursing facilities is difficult. Period. The caregiver suffers and their loved ones suffer. It’s another kind of loss.
I passed an assisted living facility the other day and saw a lady who was at the window of someone’s room trying to talk to them. She had her bicycle parked next to the window and it seemed like she was just trying to make a connection with the person she cares about. That was heartbreaking to see.
Loss, whether it’s from death or prohibitive, is still a loss. I don’t have all the answers, I wish I did.
Whatever you do, please try not to feel guilty about the loss. You are an amazing human being! You have been doing the best you know how in providing love and care for your loved ones. There is nothing to feel guilty about.
We have no control over our time on earth. It’s okay to feel sad, even angry, but it’s not okay to feel guilty.
“Weeping may remain for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” Ps 30:5