The Holy Spirit in Terms of Caregiving.
God called my mother home to Him when I was 17, and she 44, because of metastasized breast cancer. My cousin went to Him when he was 28, of metastatic bone cancer. My wife is currently battling metastasized breast cancer. She is 34 years old. This is her third battle with cancer. Therefore, I have lived with the cancer of a loved one for years. There are a few things I have found to be useful in my journeys with these loved ones.
There are times when the Holy Spirit needs to help you. Try learning as much about your loved one's disease, and treatments as possible. Please understand that much of the negative comments your loved one will make is said out of pain and the side effects of medicine. This understanding will produce wiser responses to your loved one. Modern medicine is a gift from God. Never underestimate what it can do for your loved one. Sometimes, courage is an hour-by-hour thing, in the sense that your loved one will be very close to death several times before he or she recovers. In these times, we need to be most reverent, and pray for healing to come to our loved one, and for you.
Yes, I said, for you. You will feel emotional pain as you watch the various treatments. Dealing with this pain is not easy. I use my car as a chapel. In my car/chapel, I put on God-centered music or pray when I am alone. I read the daily readings on a Catholic website. I allow these readings to help relax my spirit. I have two little children, ages 2 and 4. I play with them a lot when they are not in daycare. Run towards your faith, not away from it. In these ways, you can begin to heal. Before I understood the nature of caregiving, there were some old wounds in me from my mother's homecoming.
Because I did not understand why she yelled at me for no apparent reason, I was mad at her. I am no longer mad at her. She served God's purpose for her life. Yet, getting over her loss was not easy. I take medicines to help me sleep. These medicines are gifts from God, for they help me find peace. I wrote letters to her that I threw away, to cleanse myself from anger. The sad thing is that there were very few people who helped me while I grieved.
My father is the rock that I leaned on while I grieved. I scared my roommate away with my grief when in college. My father, on the other hand, is fortitude personified. Sometimes, we do not always have such great role models to help us through the rough days.
I am friends with an older gentleman who lost a wife to cancer, and whose current wife has been through three rounds of cancer. He is the husband of one of the Bosom Buddies in a chapter in my town. He listens to me about my challenges as a caregiver, and offers sound advice. I highly recommend that you seek out a similar mentor.
Or, perhaps, you are wise enough to be a mentor to someone else. Giving back to others is a way of helping you with your own pain. In this way, we can be Jesus to someone else.
I hope this story gives you a little injection of hope.
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