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CareLoving

I created the word CareLoving when I was caregiving for my at that time fiancé, John. He was sick for 9 months, and then died in my arms. 

As you may know, I have been deeply living and wildly grieving in the 3 years since John departed, and 15 months ago, met my beloved David. Here we are on vacation last week in Mendocino, bathing in the light of love

While John was alive, I didn’t understand what caregiving really required, and wrote about my experiences of it in a daily journal that I kept. I wrote about something I called being a “crabby caregiver”, which was my way of admitting that I wasn’t perfect at it, and needed to not be! That’s when I realized that caregiving could also be described as CareLoving- that it has the same elements as love, and is not only about giving, but also about receiving. I received so much love and wisdom helping to take care of John. 

John and I also wrote a book together called Succulent Wild Love, and included a chapter in it titled, “Self Lovingly Separate with Beautifull Boundaries.” 

This means taking exquisite care of yourself while taking care of another, and applies of course to everything- not only to physical illness. 

8 weeks ago I broke my ankle, and found myself on the other side of CareLoving- with David helping to take care of me, as I was completely non weight bearing for 7 weeks- I am now in the rehabilitation process. 

David has been, and is, “self lovingly separate with beautifull boundaries” during this experience- taking good care of himself as he helps to take care of me. 

If you have wisdom or experience to share here, please do! And feel free to share. 

CareLoving requires attention and attendance, and of course there are short term as well as longer term care experiences, and I’m sharing here primarily what I learned in the short term experience with John. 

I also had a 3 year experience of CareLoving with my mother where I didn’t know about these things, and had a much harder time. 

Here are a few ways of being that were helpfull for me as a CareLover, and also as the receiver of care. They of course also apply to life, living and loving. 

If you have wisdom or experience to share about CareLoving, you are invited to leave a comment. 

Be Willing to Be a Crabby Caregiver 

Being a “Crabby Caregiver” is essential over many months of CareLoving. It was essential that I allowed myself to be splendidly imperfect, and for John to be also. This means practicing feelings care so that you have a way to share with yourself how it feels to help care for another- and that includes things like rage, intolerance, and despair, as well as feeling blessed, willing, and being lovingly kind. 

Know and admit that you can’t “do it all” 

During the early months of caring for John, I asked my friend Val if she thought I was doing a “good job.” I waited for what I thought would be her praise and compliments. Instead she replied, 

“I actually think you’re doing a pretty terrible job. I don’t think you’re allowing others to help you much at all.” I felt shocked and defensive about this, until I quickly realized she was right, and began to actively seek out help, and ALLOW help. Allowing help also involves releasing perfectionism- about “how” others do things as compared to how you would do them. And Val said other very complimentary and supportive things along the way also!

Use your “sigh indicator”

If you’re about to do something for someone, and catch yourself sighing with annoyance, overwhelm or resistance, start again, take a break, ask for help, or reorient the task. Of course sometimes you must continue doing something-a lot of the times if you interrupt the sigh factor, it will create a big benefit for each person- both for the CareLover and someone being cared for. 

Bless every CareLover and every receiver of care. May we all tend lovingly to ourselves and others, may love all-ways lead the way, and when it doesn’t feel like love, that we practice realigning to love

Love,

 

SARK

 

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8 Comments

  1. Lynn Hoins

    I found for my mom when she was with us for a year and a half with a series of fractures, the thing that drove her crazy was lack of control. It made it really hard to help her.

    Now the shoe is on the other foot. Oh, Mom, I get it. I hate asking for the help I need. I hate not being able to do everything myself. I am my mother’s daughter. However, I have this community to remind me that self care in my case means asking for help and allowing others to give me the help.

    Letting go of control and the fear and guilt of being a burden is my current lesson – not an easy one. It was so much easier to be a giver than it is to be a receiver. Still a lot to alchemize on this journey.

    Reply
  2. Melanie Knapp

    I wonder if you’ve thought of astrology and love? Thanks for sharing, caring and daring. xo Melanie

    Reply
  3. Monique

    Thank you for giving us permission to be not perfect in a role so many of us imagine with unreasonable expectations. It reminds me that we are all human!

    Reply
  4. Terri

    Much needed perspective and sharing. Thank you. We’re so hard on ourselves when doing important work like this. As an oncology nurse I always have the giving/receiving conversation with our patients. Check out Jean Watson’s work on caring.

    Reply
  5. Marcia

    What if you don’t really love the person you must provide care for? I had a beautiful child to someone I realized I didn’t love the moment she was conceived and I stayed for 8 years until my daughter was strong enough to cope with the separation which I prepared like slow roast for her sake. I was deeply unhappy and at 47 opted for my own life, I could not condemn myself or my daughter and my son from a previous marriage to the notion of an ever lasting loveless relationship for fear of loneliness. I had to teach them that love exists and that it is worthwhile. I was ready to open to love and I did find it or it found me for 5 years until its end. Her father, on the other hand didn’t and he is now dying of bowel cancer, which at times I feel he enjoys telling people he has 1, maximum 2 years of life, forgive me for being perverse. He has no family, he is completely broke, he is also lazy, lazy in his growth and with work, and none of the stuff I absolutely hated on him has changed, on the contrary. He sucked my energy when we were together and it was a relief when I was finally alone with my daughter and my son. Now he has no one, nowhere to live and I know that it is my duty to look after him. It is my humanist duty and yet I am angry at my pity for him and at him. He is very intelligent and he is not a bad person, he is just one of those pitiful people, with no drive, no guts, when I have plenty of drive and guts. He comes from affluent and loveless upbringing, had everything on his plate, but love. Now he has nothing. How am I going to pull it off?

    Reply
  6. k

    Thank you for the great reminders
    ~much love to all!

    Reply
  7. Cc

    I hope your ankle gets better but stay with the physical therapy cuz it is key . you’ve got to do those ankle circles so that you will stretch out and lubricate The Joint cuz it gets really stiff in the boot.

    Reply
  8. Shari Thompson

    Dearest Darling Susan,
    My biggest struggle with CareLoving was that I got so tired, however, caring for my husband in the last year of his life filled me with huge love. It took all the CareLoving that I did to help me to say goodbye and it was still very hard to do. I now look at that experience as incredibly special and one that I cherish forever. I did not understand this at the time, however, and thought it would last forever. It was such a special time and helped me to make peace with the experience of being married for 34 years to my beloved husband and having a wonderful love and life.

    Reply

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