Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I've been reading some of my favorite blogs this week, trying to find more, and just seeing what's going on with my fellow caregivers. There's one blog I particularly like, listed on my blog list, by two sisters who are caring for their father. They just sound like lovely women, who love their father very much, and there was one recent post that caught my eye.

One of the women was writing about how their father was spending much more time, either at a facility or adult daycare, I'm not sure. The point was, much of the time previously taken up with caring for her father she now had free and she was having mixed feelings about it. She detailed the feelings of guilt and shame at not being with her father so much, and even mentioned how worried she was about what other people would think of her for "ditching" her father. I just wanted to cry, I felt so bad for her, and I wanted to reach through the screen to tell her to stop.

I remember those feelings of guilt and shame so well; was I doing this right? Would people think I was a bad daughter for not spending more time with Dad? Was it wrong to want a few hours to myself? And, of course, the big one, would people think I was a bad person for putting Dad in an assisted living facility? I still feel guilty feelings for putting boundaries on how much I can do with and for Dad due to my health issues. I still wonder whether the people at Dad's home judge me for not spending more time with him.

My good friend would ask me who I was talking about when I said "people" or "they". And she would point out that only I knew what could be best for Dad, and for me. She also pointed out that most people who knew me thought only of the good I was doing for Dad, and how much he must appreciate it. Where does this belief come from that we have to give up so much of ourselves, that we have to work for another until we're exhausted, and feel guilty for wanting to live our own lives? I want to know where-and how do we get rid of it?

Unfortunately, these feelings will never completely go away, and I've done a lot of healing work to be able to turn the volume down on them. Now, whenever I hear another caregiver saying how guilty or ashamed they feel for wanting some time to themselves, I take them by the shoulders(if I happen to physically be with them) and tell them to stop! I point out all the wonderful things they are doing, and that there is no way possible to take care of anything or anybody if we haven't taken care of ourselves first! You HAVE to put yourself first, otherwise there will eventually be nothing left of you to help others; plus, you were given a life that's just as important as that of your charge. You deserve to live it, and don't forget it! Let's all remind each other of that as much as possible.


  1. Love your question in this post... "how do you get rid of the guilt feelings?"

    What I found is once I understood WHY I do what I do, the guilt went away.

    For me it was my constant need for approval; especially where Mom is concerned.

    The result? I became an over achiever looking for approval outside of myself; I never found it.

    Once I understood my ulterior motive (I believe we all have one if we admit it or not), the guilt subsided and my relationship with my mother improved dramatically.

    I also realized how easy it is for others to judge. If folks haven't walked the Care Giver shoes, I tell them to talk to my hand... the only one who can judge me is my God.

  2. I have no Guilt anymore. When I can get away I go. I run . I don't want to come back But I do. I have to . But the guilt is gone now. Lost in all the other feellings I have now.

  3. You said it, Susan! Of course we have ulterior as well as beneficial motives, you're so right, its important just to be aware. Thanks as always for your thoughtful comments, I always love to hear from you!
    And to Karen, thank you so much for your comment. I don't know your story, but I appreciate everything you're doing and feeling.