Thursday, December 1, 2011


Caregiving . . . encompasses and permeates personal territory.  Constant assessment of another's needs, relentless requirements for seeing, hearing, responding.  Draining, distracting, demanding.  When a person is no longer able to perform specific duties such as bathing, dressing or eliminating waste from their bodies sanitarily, suddenly it is incumbent on others to carry out/support these actions.

Exactly what is divinely inspired about changing an adult diaper?  Soiled linens, endless medication schedules, feeding necessities, physical exertion such as lifting, knowledge that there is no foreseeable end to all of it.  Can a daily expectation of this sort of life be fit appropriately into a loving, kind or selfless category?  People who spend their own healthy, capable lives in caring for the needs of others must find purpose, meaning in some realm of thought regarding what they do each moment.  The activity has to bring a form of satisfaction, either from tasks discharged once more and understood to be repeated endlessly, tirelessly, or from knowledge that it is a job completed, for a particular sum of money which will sustain the performer for a time.

Compassion and empathy are indispensable in caregiving situations, though such admirable qualities cannot possibly remain whole and present in one who is increasingly exhausted.  Fatigue plays tricks on even the strongest.

There are those who bring themselves willingly, grimly to the tasks, and those who understand that stepping away is necessary.  Caring for others is a truly thankless, deadly, mind-numbing experience for some -- yet fulfilling & enhancing for others.  It is not so simple to ascertain which of these categories we fall into.

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