Can we really be guilt free?
Author: Shannon Miller
By guest blogger Tammy Badida:
Out of the articles I have written and continue to write, the biggest request I get is to share about the guilt that is involved in being a caretaker. There isn’t a caretaker I have met who doesn’t tell me how they feel some sort of guilt.
When thinking back I always considered it a privilege to be able to take care of my husband. I loved every minute that I could share with him. Believe me, I was that person who did it all and still felt like I couldn’t do enough. Sometimes, I wondered if I was just feeling helpless in my caretaking role instead of guilty. What I came to learn is that my sweet husband felt guilty too. He didn’t want to see me exhausted, worried, or anxious. In hindsight I wish we would have talked more about the feeling of guilt that I know we both shared.
I bet if you were to talk to your loved one about the guilt you are feeling, they would tell you they want you to be happy and rested. It will probably even bring them joy for you to do something for yourself and be able to find release from some of that guilt you are experiencing. If you feel like you are in a situation that you cannot express how you feel, you will have to try and come to terms with knowing that you are doing everything you can for this person that you love and take care of. It is okay to turn guilt into peace.
Caretaking is the hardest, yet most rewarding thing you can do. I know there is guilt that comes with watching someone suffer day in and day out and you have to be able to find that place of peace in knowing that you have comforted and provided for your loved one to the best of your ability. I remember I would have days where I felt relaxed, rested, and so assured of things (yes, those days did exist!). I used to say those were the days I was floating in God’s “peace bubble”. I was safe in there, no one could get to me, and I felt guilt free for a while. Find your “peace bubble.”
I cannot talk you out of your guilt, and no one could do it for me either. What I can do is offer you hope and encouragement. Chances are, if that person you are taking care of knows you love them and knows the sacrifices you are making for them, they will understand if you cannot be there every minute of every day. I used to say to my husband, “Honey, I do not need a break from you, just the situation.” He completely understood that.
Find a place of encouragement you can go to when you feel overwhelmed by guilt (church, friends, family, support group). We all need encouragement, especially when we are taking care of someone who is ill. You are doing a great job, you are an amazing caretaker, and you will get through this. You will realize you have become a much stronger, confident person in the process.
“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” – Maya Angelou
Hope you will be back for next Tuesday’s article: “Finding Your Joy!”
Article by Tammy Badida