Meredith Music Festival 2011

Demands of Looking After Our Parents

May 30, 2015

I know all of us who are caregivers of our parents or even their parents, can have a good whine about the demands on time, resources and energy but I am here to celebrate you and give a big shout out to you for taking up the challenge! To illustrate how you were chosen for this task and why you are so blessed – I ask that if you have brothers and sisters: Would they do what you are doing? Can you see why I say a hooray to you for doing the right thing!

Doing the right thing under any circumstances can be challenging but taking up the commitment of caring for those we love or not, can be trying at times. I have taken in and cared for my Grandmother who passed away at home with me and my mom by her side, and now my mother, who after a long career of taking care of others now needs the taking care of.  This aspect of her past can make it difficult for her to ask for help; something I needed to learn to understand and compensate for. I have had to learn a lot going through these journeys but it has made me a better person all around by doing the right thing.

I know many of you are in the same place as I. I cannot tell you how many times I have been giving a ZodiacLiveTarot reading and the person on the other end asks if I can hold for a second while she checks her Mum’s tea or Grandma’s comfort. And all I can think – What nice people these are! As a caregiver you need to remember you are going to be at the edge at times, maybe angry and frustrated but that is ok to acknowledge you are feeling so – and to remember what nice people you are for doing so!

Often while speaking with many of you in this place I will pull the Eight of Cups in your Tarot reading. I think this cards meaning explains how we can feel as caregivers. The ancient readers saw the Eights as expenditures and in relation to the Cups it’s known as the Home Card – the daily energy and time expended in chores and care that can take up a day. In Tarot associated contemplation this is the Sacrifice Meditation to review the sacrifices that you are voluntarily making in the physical, mental and emotional realm. We make those sacrifices for people and ideas we love and at times it can make us think if we should give up. This can make us overwhelmed and frightened because we feel as if we have given and done all we can. We do not want to feel as if it all has been in vain and is doomed to fail. We need to hope that something can turn out alright in the end – but that is the beauty of the Eight of Cups – it is a full recognition of the situation traveled in the journey of the Cups till we meet the Eight – and the choice is yours completely and you have made a choice to do the right thing by your parents!

Like the balance of life you are doing something extraordinary and taxing. Recognize this! Acknowledge you are making the right sacrifices but that you need to make sure you treat yourself to you time; if you do not you can grow resentful. I have also learned older people can grow cranky and quarrelsome because they feel they have lost control of their physical selves along possibly with their home because they can no longer care for themselves. I can easily understand how this can happen but it took me a bit not to take it further out myself by adding anger to my response. I came to realize sometimes people get into a groove of conversation they know will get a rise out of you because you are participating with them and not just merely listening with one ear.

One of the other trends I noticed in my readings with care givers and one I had to work through as well – is our focus on those other family members who are not doing any of the daily heavy lifting of caring for a parent. I have heard scenarios ranging from siblings posting Facebook images of care while not doing so to other relatives literally taking off for vacation when they were required to care for the parent while you were going away! Maddening but aren’t you happy you are not like them! I bet your parents feel this way as well! My advice is to take yourself out of your emotional reaction to your sibling’s behavior and realize how mature and blessed you are for doing the right thing by your folks!

While there are many stories we all can tell about being stretched and feeling exhausted from what at times can seem like a daily grind but I also bet if we had a chance to speak we could tell each other tales of the rich rewards that come from taking care of your parents. I also believe those rewards get delivered even further by God by giving you your karmic due.

There is something dignified and strengthening in our character when we stand up and say we will do this, despite any difficulties or the lack of personal time and space. You have taken up a challenge that someday will end and when it does, you can hold your head up high and hear your soul say “Job well done – I did the right thing!”

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