In the news one day, out of mind the next. It can feel as though caring is at best the latest craze. It’s no secret more people are known to be challenged more consistently and progressively than we can keep up with. I can’t help but imagine that the inconsistent care we receive in support is perpetuated by the inconsistency in report. What happens when the news, of a local caregiver being treated unjustly while seeking support and care, turns the page?
I know her existence doesn’t. I know her sorrow, grief and anxiety doesn’t. I know her determination and drive doesn’t. So when will our unsung hero be given their next fifteen minutes of change? Momentum for caregiver support remains a caregiver craze until our system’s enthusiasm for the action of caregiving is provided sustainably in our lived experience. Or are caregivers supposed to give their life to system-wide change too?
Where does our continued burden find its roots? Care itself stems from Old English, which portrayed a burden of mind. Caregiving continues to be practiced in times of sorrow, grief and anxiety. Something is not as we expect it to be and we give care. These are normal reactions to abnormal events in our lives. When we care, we feel concern and interest in the existence characterized by another. We are not caretakers; taking care is not what we are used to.
We practice providing care, an action that never rests on solid ground for too long. We are givers not takers. Taking the spotlight is something we have to do, not because it’s in vogue but because our care takes us there. Caregivers give care in so many fashions not because it’s fashionable. Caregivers give because it’s needed, because it’s been causing a loved one burden of mind, giving us rise to the action of caregiving. If caregivers needing care too is passé, check the statistics.
I doubt it’s any coincidence that giving care stems from the mind, not body or soul. It preoccupies our thoughts, and we all know the power this has over our whole being. It echoes into our everyday lives and in so many ways. It changes our experiences in life and redefines what characterizes our own existence. We take on support roles to exercise an offering, to lessen of burden of another. It ripples in our personal life, our social life, our professional life, it adjusts our very identity. We fill the shoes to lift the weight.
The caregiver craze is not a burden of the mind but a burden of the system surrounding care. We are not alone in the practice of providing care to ease the sorrow, anxiety and grief for a loved one burdened with a challenge unsupported by the system designed to care for society. We are the givers of care because the need is there. We come in all styles, caring to the best of our ability, nature and qualities. This is a human understanding, a humane experience and a humanitarian movement. We’re not a craze, we’re a reality.
We want the breathing space that respires, the ally that inspires, and a shared understanding of our loved one’s existence, to best relieve the common burden of mind, the collective anxiety, sorrow and grief of chronic or progressive vulnerability. We want to be seen, heard and believed in our experiences, not another pre-existing remedy to take. We are not one size fits all, no matter how much we may feel like a trend that keeps coming back into style but is never seen as a basic necessity above the latest fashion statement.
I won’t dance the caregiver craze anymore. It’s time for a new tune.
One we can all turn to together, because we support each other.