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.