Someone in a group I'm in wrote about struggling to find meaning in caregiving. That sparked me to write some thoughts of my own, which I've edited to take out my replies to her.
How to find meaning? In my own personal healing journey I've been able to find meaning by giving back to others. We can do that in all kinds of small ways. I'm so grateful simply when I run into someone who understands how bad it is—today a couple of colleagues who witnessed a form for me.
Can we find creativity in the ongoing situation? Again I'm thinking of my earlier healing journey, where I worked through painful memories and felt such satisfaction if I could find a creative way to get the feelings out. Is there anything that we can make beautiful? Is there a sense that finding ways to make the ill person's life as good as possible is a dance? Weaving a peaceful place around the pain and confusion.
Feminists have analyzed women's work as not valued because the same tasks have to be done over and over again. It isn't like building something—you sweep the floor and it just gets dirty again. Caregiving is full of such work. Someone has to hold the forces of chaos at bay. Celtic spirituality seeks to find the holy in the mundane, but that isn't easy to hold onto.
I recently read someone who wrote that from caregiving she learned to have faith in herself that she knew best, no matter what other people said or thought. But how can we be less lonely?