C A R E G I V E R S, there’s no greater job in life then when you carry the title “Caregiver.” Yes, cancer can be a scary and frightening Invader to tackle. But when it comes to cancer, we must realize it’s not about us. Whether it’s your child, an extended family member or friend, just know it’s about our love ones. As they strive to defeat this diseased-relationship, they are the real heroes. So we need to put aside our fear and divvy all our love into embracing those who actually became afflicted with that toxic relationship. Show them how much we support their journey, while providing unconditional love. Of course, it will be difficult to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. But there is no set script that guides us along the way. Now, don’t pretend to know exactly what they’re going through ─ everyone’s journey can bring a different experience. Nor try to give expert advice as their personal or medical advisor ─ barring no license. Cancer patients won’t expect you to know how to deal with this aspect of their journey. They for one are probably learning a lot of medical information in a short period, themselves.
Don’t focus on the toxic disease, focus on the patient. Then again, it helps to reach out ─ find a way to connect. Be sincere in your speech. Just a few words of thoughtfulness can carry a long way and mean so much. “How can I help you today?” “How can I help make this easier?” “If you ever feel like talking, I’m here to listen.” Even so extending kind words of that nature will make a world of difference ─ throughout their experience. Let them know they matter. Let them know how much they’re loved. There are many ways to extend a supportive role. There’s no need to have many things to say. It’s your genuine love that will filter the air. In another perspective, it would be helpful to learn a bit about the disease, if only for your own personal gain of understanding. And it’s awareness and recognition of the behavioral changes that may manifest within one, as a patient. Now with that knowledge consider it a mode of operation solely for self-gratification. Above all, these patients are at a vulnerable period, so be super sensitive.
Remember, a caregiver’s role is not an easy task to undertake. That’s for sure. If the element of fear has become your enemy and controller, you’ll need to get over the discomfort or get out of the way. It’s more about extending an ear to hear their message, while massaging and nurturing their spirit. Keep eye contact and listen actively. It shows you care, and it’s amazing how listening can make a difference. Offer a shoulder ─ there’s no cost to that. Whatever the situation, learn to feed on the cues of their reactions. As hard as it may seem, imagine yourself walking in their footprints. And hearing the words “You have cancer,” that along can monstrously invade your mind. Surely, you won’t know how someone feels but just being there as a compassionate and caring person will radiate a thousand words and elevate their physical and emotional being.
When you feel a need or urge to cry and even vent, do it in silent. Please, do it in silence, please I urge you to do it in silence, or behind closed doors! And whenever it becomes overwhelming, talk to someone. But never let them see a release of those emotions. No matter how this crisis eats you painfully, I urge you to remain strong. I realize that’s easier said than done, but our heroes need to feed off your source of energy and strength.
Most importantly, keep the faith. God doesn’t give us more than we can bear. Our destiny is in His hands. I speak these words from having reaped personal knowledge and exposure through my own journey, as a Caregiver.
With all this said, it can be laid out as twelve effective tools. Perhaps, I’ll share that one for another posting!