Confession : an open acknowledgment of feelings; something admitted or disclosed;
Wear – erosion, deterioration, fray, abrasion
(Fray: unravel, become ragged, become threadbare)
Weary - the result of wear: exhausted, drained, fatigued, disillusioned;
(Frayed: worn, ragged, tattered, unraveled)
[i wrote this a few days ago, and it is true. i will say that today has been an unusually communicative day with T....he has been able to make full sentences, to express feelings intermittently, to be a bit more conversational. no significant stresses for 24hours, and i am thankful! but what i have written is still valid and significant and descriptive of my life.]
I like words…….and their meanings. Words are how we communicate, and they can build or tear away lives, relationships, and even nations. To my own discredit, I have not always used words to their maximum benefit.
But I am now using words which I feel will best communicate how I experience care-giving. Above are words which probably best describe the result of care-giving and take on even more weight when the CG is “single” and when the time extends. When I saw counselors and doctors last fall, they were incredulous at how long I have been at this process.
I have come to employ the word “weary” to describe myself; and I believe this word is not distinctly descriptive of my feelings, rather it expresses how most care-givers feel after any period of time on the job. It’s beyond tired….it’s a fatigue of body and soul which cannot be remedied by sleep. It follows me throughout the day, pervasive in its effect. In fact, sometimes the waking up hour has been one of the most difficult. My eyes open or my mind alerts from sleep…and I am immediately aware that this is another day of the sameness….the same schedule, the same loneliness, the same demands. I feel tired before my feet hit the floor. Many mornings during the last year, I have prostrated myself at my bedside, flattened against it and cried out for strength, telling God I didn’t think I could do it for another day. Sometimes, I have awakened and cried upon remembering my circumstance – before I even encounter the day physically. Often I still awake with a feeling of general anxiety, not for any specific reason… …instead, it's as if I am going to have a surgery, or a colonoscopy, or a test I don’t feel prepared to take. Different from anticipation (expectancy, eagerness, hope)……VERY different
By now, if you’re reading this….either you are a fellow care-giver who can maybe identify with these feelings, or….you may have decided that I have a problem, that I must be mentally disturbed, or hysterical. "As a matter of fact" (to quote Rick Perry J), none of these are really true. I am just plain ol’ tuckered out inside, weary….ragged, drained and often without anticipation. There was a book made popular back in the 80’s by a Christian pediatrician who wrote about a child’s “emotional tank” and how we as parents need to watch for when that tank was getting empty and take care to keep our child's emotinal tank full. I assert that this concept applies to everyone. We need our emotional tanks as full as possible to help us run smoothly and productively.
How does a person get emotionally filled? Primarily from interaction with Holy God and with another human being. God made us to live in community, to be relational - to desire each other’s company, affirmation, to spend time with one another, to be listened to and to be heard…and to return the same. So when that interaction is missing – for whatever reason – when isolation becomes the order of the day, when spending time with another person is the “abnorm” instead of the norm, when the TV becomes your best friend, when the person who was your closest friend is disconnected by disease, unable to dialogue or process and respond to conversation, when you are left alone most of your days– the emotional tank begins to run on empty, then on fumes….then it begins to sputter and choke. Thus, the weariness….......