Open letter from a hospice caregiver to her body and mind
By Patty Ayers
Dear Body and Mind,
For today I will try my best to not be too hard on you. I will overlook the load of clothes in the dryer that need to be folded and put away. I will let the dishes in the kitchen sink sit for one more hour while I take a bath, as long as my husband stays sleeping. Maybe I will stop worrying about everything all at once and try to take one day at a time. I will try to stop beating myself up for feeling guilty when I wish this to soon be over. I will also try not to be too hard on myself when I feel guilty about wanting things for myself, even though I know that my husband will not be here in a few months. I will attempt to pace myself and not try to pack everything in all in one day.
Should I call my sister-in-law and ask if she will come over and sit with her brother while I go shopping? If I do, will I worry about how things are going the whole time I’m gone? Maybe I will pick up the phone and make that medical appointment I’ve been putting off for months. Perhaps today is going to be the day that I will not worry about how I will survive financially once my husband has died. Do I dare even think about what my long term future holds? Would I be a really bad spouse if I think how my future looks with another man?
What about our children? How are they coping? Maybe I will not worry about them today. I just noticed the bed is not made. Have I sent out the holiday cards? Should I worry that Aunt Mary will be upset if she does not receive a card from me? When was the last time the car had an oil change? Maybe my son will take it for me over the weekend. Did I give my husband his medication this morning? I wonder when the nurse will be here today or if she’ll be here today.
Anyway I think I’ll finish this letter later……….
Does the above conversation look familiar to you?
Relax, take a deep breath and understand that your thoughts and feelings are very normal. You are under a great deal of stress. Just remember that talking about it with someone will help alleviate some of your stress. Listen to your body when it is tired. Understand your limits. Take a break and time for yourself when you need to, you deserve it.