The role of the Caretaker is hard. Between the two of us, I believe that Richard has had the more difficult task in caring for me. A Cancer Caregiver provides for not only the immediate needs (bathe, groom, dress) of the person with cancer but also for the interactions with the medical team and the functioning of the home. Added to Richard’s duties was also running Executive Leadership Skills International.
There is also the Caregiver’s role in emotional support. I cannot count the times he held me and just let me sob getting the pain out or at least trying to get the pain out.
Then there are the unspoken needs of the patient. Somehow, Richard found the time to launder and pack away every bra I owned. When I returned from my surgery and opened my lingerie draw as I prepared to dress the next day, those items were gone saving me from looking at a reminder of what was no more.
He studied. At medical appointments, he was prepared with questions and took notes. He took the lead and kept people focused on his mission.
He was already a great chef but took extra planning to ensure my meals were balanced. Somehow, I managed to lose 12 pounds without exercising.
I do not know how I would have made this journey successfully without his love and support.
I believe that a Caregiver is the epitome of a Servant Leader and encompasses every aspect of Be – Know – Do.
If you know someone that is a Caregiver, offer your help. I think of my friend whose Mother suffers with Alzheimer’s. I think of my friend who drives hours to check on her Daddy. I know I can offer more support and actions to help them. And, I will.
At my first surgery, Scott (son), Gina, and their two children extended their stay with us during a trip to help. We came home from the hospital with the house perfect, dinner made, and even the dogs brushed! At the second surgery, Scott and Gina managed the telephone call list and gave Richard uninterrupted time to be with me at the hospital.
So many friends have helped us. From fully cooked meals, to stocking our freezer, tending the garden, buying cards for me to give to Richard, picking up the doggies and taking them to the vet’s, cards, flowers, phone calls, checking in on our needs…we have been blessed with love and support.
We were overwhelmed with your kind and supporting comments after the first article. We were especially touched by your prayers for us.