Family care giving is as full of constellations as our South Dakota night sky.
There are parents caring for kids, of course. But also kids of all ages caring for parents. And spouse for spouse, sibling for sibling, friend for friend, ex for ex, neighbor for neighbor…
After my recent musings about our son’s transition to a group home, I got this message from a friend in the region,
I just read your blog post about Joey’s transition and thought I’d share our journey, for perspective. The same time you were moving Joey in, we were moving my parents from the farm to assisted living. This transition took a turn, a few days in, when suddenly it became necessary to move my dad into memory care. So now they are in 2 separate facilities, both a fairly good fit for each of their needs, but they are separated for the first time in 57 years. When Dad resists, it’s especially hard on Mom who put so much effort into keeping him in the home he loved. Sadly, and fortunately, less resistance from him gives Mom respite but means he’s less engaged and more confused. He’s letting go of his connection to his home and eventually to the people he has loved, as must happen. It seems to me that Joey struggling against his separation and transition is a sign of life and love. Having found a good, safe place for him, he is a pretty lucky guy to have more than one place where he is cared for and loved by people who have the stamina to provide what he needs. I still hope to have that coffee on one of my visits, but concerned relatives seem to fill my dance card these last few trips! Peace!
Our friend’s ability to see the good things in all of the trade offs is so important. Every constellation of care will have these – some seemingly essential things lost but other wonders gained. Those latter must be illuminated and gazed upon. They are lamps of meaning and value against what can become, if not resisted, dark and empty feelings of futility and despair.
So twinkle on, whatever your care giving constellation.
Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the world. It is by your holding fast to the word of life that I can boast on the day of Christ that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16)