Lupus and Caregiving: Taking time to Transition
Let's talk transition time.
I visit my mom almost every weekday morning. I stay between 1-3 hours, and the routine varies.
Some days, I'm helping with bathing, feeding, changing, dressing, or tidying up.
Other days, I meet up with the nurse for a 3x a week draining procedure (read about why my mom needed a PleurX drain here), and discuss disease progression, medications, etc.
Sometimes, my mom and I just talk before or after the morning duties. Or we watch TV (though not as much as we used to). Or I sit on the side of her bed, and we hold hands while she rests. Or I just sit quietly in the corner.
Most days, regardless of what I've done, I'm an emotional wreck on the way home. Sometimes, they're happy tears, because she's doing so well, or because the new medicine is working. Other days, it's frustration overload because of the unpredictability of her advanced staged illness. I cry when I'm sad, overwhelmed, or weary, but also when I'm happy or relieved. It made we think about what's happening when we cry. So I googled it.
Google search: Why do people cry?Tears arise from strong emotions. Empathy, compassion, physical pain, attachment pain, and moral and sentimental emotions can trigger these tears. They communicate your emotions to others. Emotional tears make you feel more vulnerable, which could improve your relationships. Emotional tears contain more stress hormones and natural painkillers than other types of tears. They serve a therapeutic role, also known as “a good cry.” Emotional crying, which tends to make you feel better, may be a part of the healing process.
Yes! 100%! Exactly what they said!
Which leads to my point about transition time. No matter what the morning entails, I need time to transition once I arrive home before I tackle pretty much anything of substance. Walks are good, naps are even better. Sometimes washing the dishes, brushing my dog Tia, or blowing leaves does the trick. But I can't underestimate the value of this downtime. It serves as a way to transition from a very difficult scenario back to reality. My mom is passing from this life to the next. And it's hard. It's hard to let go. It's hard to part ways. It's hard to watch her become a shell of who she was. And it's really hard knowing that one day, I'll drive back from her place for the very last time.
I don't dwell on the last one very often. But it's exactly why I can't skip that transition time. The reality is that my life here on earth will go on even when my mom's has come to an end.
And I usually need a minute to make sense of that.
Have you found ways to transition from caregiving to the routine of your own life? Let me know in the comments!