The cancer journey is as exhausting for the caregiver – physically, mentally and emotionally – as for the patient. And when you look back you might find life-changing lessons. Read on for caregiver tips.
Reclaim Your Power
Lesson 5 described the difficulties and the downsides of having to deal with co-dependence that invariably enters into the patient-carer relationship. The final lesson, though which I learned is one far more positive, energising, life-enhancing and fulfilling.
Looking back, the very struggle of having to reclaim my power from Vijay after having spent over five years of not just being his wife and the mother of his children but also his primary care-giver and chief source of emotional support, did deliver something extra-ordinarily beautiful for me.
I had to come into my own after finding that I had lost myself in all these roles. It took a lot of hard work and examining my own part in having allowed the slide into co-dependence.
I had to accept my own needs which were being met by being Vijay’s carer and in order to break free of depending on him for having my needs met, I had to tap into my own inner power and meet my needs through that which was so much healthier.
When I connected with my own inner resources, to complete me and fill all the holes in myself, I found I became my own person, complete in myself not needing Vijay or anyone else to complete me. On the contrary, my own self-assurance and compassion towards my own human-ness and myself made me more comfortable, not just with everyone else including Vijay but also made me more whole and balanced.
The Spirit of Interdependence
Coming into your own by breaking free of co-dependence does not mean that you stop caring and sharing with your loved one. All of life is inter-dependent and when we are in touch with our own source within for our personal power, we can freely and joyfully give and take in a spirit of inter-dependence in all our relationships.
Caregiving was my path to wholeness, looking back. It served a purpose that transcended marriage and cancer. It’s almost as if at a spiritual level, Vijay’s soul had a sacred contract with mine to give me this experience in this lifetime so I could evolve.
The Gift of Care-Giving
As a care-giver I invite you to look for the deeper lessons that the pain and challenge of care-giving and this cancer experience may be bringing to you.
In a funny way, this gift is entirely yours and it’s about you and has nothing to do with your loved one or the cancer.
I hope you will look for, and find your own personal growth and lessons that you needed to learn and happen to have learned through the cancer of your loved one. Ask yourself, how has my loved one’s cancer helped me evolve?
- Even as you learn to live with cancer, how can you, your loved one and your family smoothly transition to the next phase of your lives?
- If you sit back and reflect, what would you say the cancer journey has taught you?
- What specific areas of your personality or rough edges of your life you would like to work on and develop further?
More from this series
|Title||About the article|
|Lesson 1: Wear Your Oxygen Mask First||The cancer diagnosis blows a big, unexpected hole in your energy supply. It’s like being on an aircraft which was flying smoothly, all under control, and suddenly the cabin pressure drops due to some unexpected turbulence.|
|Lesson 2: Eat to Live, Not Live to Eat||Cooking for a cancer patient can be far more challenging than many books indicate. Sometimes it can take over your life and make you wonder if this is all you are now going to do.|
|Lesson 3: Acknowledge and Accept the Struggle||Another unexpected aspect of the cancer journey is when you come up against your own, not-so-heroic side, and that of the loved one you are taking care of.|
|Lesson 4: From Pain to Transformation||Pain can serve you, if you can only stop long enough and pay attention to the incredible learning and growth that you are experiencing.|
|Lesson 5: Co-dependence – Don’t Slide Into It||Most times the loved one who gets cancer and for whom you are the primary care-giver is already in a deep relationship with you.|
|Lesson 6: Relationship as a Path to Wholeness||Looking back, the very struggle of having to reclaim my power from Vijay after having spent over five years of not just being his wife and the mother of his children but also his primary care-giver and chief source of emotional support, did deliver something extra-ordinarily beautiful for me.|