Loss and change: That sounds kind of grim.
As caregivers, we deal with loss and change on a daily basis. We must deal with our loved ones loss of physical and/or mental capacities. We grieve each loss; we celebrate each gain, each rally…and we hope for more. We do our best, knowing that our best is, ultimately, to help them have the best possible life ending.
We grow closer because of the love and care we provide. And then, we face the ultimate loss. Amid the grief, beyond the grief, we must figure out what to do with this major change in the landscape of our lives.
Over the summer, my uncle died. He was the last of that generation of our family. My cousins and my siblings are now the older generation of the family. What a strange concept to me! I still don’t feel quite like a grown up (or maybe I just don’t want to be).
For nearly 35 years, I have automatically reached out to my long-time best friend, who shared my joys and sorrows and always provided good advice. This summer, she, too, passed away. I find myself reaching for the phone and realize that I can no longer reach her that way.
There are other friends to reach out to, other people to offer comfort and help to. And I do that. Because it is what those I have lost would do and would want me to do. Because caregiving takes another turn.
And yet, sometimes, I just need time to process, to try to understand life’s changes, to understand that I will always be someone’s child, sister, friend.