I had an exchange with a dear acquaintance who is caring for an older adult recently and she shared a sentiment from an author named Shawn Anchor I found very interesting and potentially useful.
The conversation was born from a dialogue we had about the rigors we each face as we navigate life and caring for others. Her loved one has had issue after issue in the past 18 months and it has affected quality of life and meant the partial loss of independence. In a situation like that, it is very easy to feel burdened and down. In fact, that (for most) is arguably the easiest path to take. However, she recounted that the journey has had an unexpected result…a bond that is new with more depth than they’d ever experienced before. A side affect that points towards joy and contentment vs. misery.
Shawn Anchor writes: “Joy is something you can experience even when life is not pleasurable. Even in the midst of a long run, when your legs are burning, you can still feel joy.” Embarking on a long journey with a loved one can be the same. Caring for someone is taxing and very hard work. There are so many dynamics that come into play. However, the journey can also be rewarding and one that draws the parties closer together in ways much more visceral than those we feel in day-to-day exchanges.
As I come across families navigating their care journeys I am going to try and keep that sentiment top-of-mind. It offers a glimmer of sunlight in what otherwise might seem like a bleak landscape.