Peace for the Caregiver

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

HE QUALIFIES THE UNQUALIFIED


I stood next to my husband as the doctor told us there was nothing more they could do. It was June 22, 2017, when my Dan received his death sentence. The cancer had reared its ugly head once again. This time it was inoperable. Dan asked how long he had. The doctors response was numbing, a few weeks or a couple of months maximum.


Never having the desire to become a nurse, although every mother has some nurses training in caring for their children, I was given a new role.  As a mother, I learned to bathe my children, feed them, clothe them, nurture them, comfort them, and do all I could to make them feel better. Yet, there was no instant course for what was about to happen in my life.


There are two types of Hospice:


• Dan could be transported to a facility to die


• Dan could remain in his own home, with care by family


It was an easy decision for me; he was going to remain in his home!


My husband was still very mobile, and he was not sick.  A tumor the size of a baseball had lodged behind his heart. A second tumor, the size of a walnut, had attached to his esophagus.  He was not in pain, which made it possible to go out on day trips and do things he chose to do. I praise God that he was able to enjoy some of the days he had left.


I decided to leave my job of 22 years to be with Dan every moment we could. How does one go from a wife to a caretaker when I felt unprepared?  Would I be able to make our days seem normal?  I had helped shower my Dan for the last eight years since he lost his arm and shoulder in an amputation, but how would I be able to watch the man I loved ebb away day after day? 


“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

He was not only dying of cancer but had beginning stages of dementia, as well.   Somehow, I had to keep our life as normal as possible.  Before his diagnosis, our routine involved prayer and devotions every day after breakfast. 


Suddenly I had this overwhelming thought that if we do our devotions, it will make him think of his fate even more.  How do I pray with him now that we both know he had a death sentence looming over our heads?  


I know that God is a healer, but wisdom told me that God also gave humans so many years to live, and to be honest, Dan and I was both blessed because our ages were already beyond the 70-year mark. 


I was learning that being a caregiver did not mean I was caring just for the physical needs; but the spiritual, the mental, and the emotional.  


CAN YOU RELATE?


Whether the loss is a spouse, a child, or a parent, just knowing you are about to face the death of someone you love is overwhelming.  Suddenly, you discover you have attained this position with great responsibility.  Join me tomorrow as we learn what this promotion entails.