The voices of those who care
The following quotes are from caregivers from all walks of life. They are normal people like you who decide to give of mind and body to take care of the needs of loved ones. These caregiver quotes are meant to address the joys and struggles of being a caregiver; to give you hope, strength and a feeling of solidarity.
“I’m only a husband! I suspect most caregivers are initially treated like a god, with superpower. Then we become invisible. I’m not a superman. I’m a responsible, very fragile, determined caregiver with a wide range of feelings from tender compassion to anger.”
“My husband was dying. My whole world was focused on him, not on myself. What right did I have to feel sorry for myself? In fact, I never thought or felt it until I crawled exhausted into bed, my lonely bed. All that attention on him kept me from facing a lot of things I must have been holding too close to the bone to let them be felt.”
“Shred the invitation—the party is cancelled—no pity party today. I need to kick my self-pity in the butt and be useful in whatever way I can.”
“I know that requests for solitude can be misinterpreted by those around us despite their love for us. I have had to make it clear in this caregiver journey more times than I can count that if I don’t find time alone with myself I will fall apart. Many times a guest bath has offered itself as a retreat. It is amazing how comfortable a hard floor can be when you have to be alone with yourself and God on the ‘Guest Bath Floor Retreat!’”
“Yes, I have clearly been through the caregiver wringer as well. It is very draining, very necessary, very difficult and very rewarding. It does focus our lives but not necessarily how we would like them to be focused.”
“Somebody told me that I must never forget that caregiving is just one part of my life. She also told me that, ‘So what!’ needs to be part of my hourly vocabulary: ‘So what if they sleep in their pants!’ or ‘So what if the floor is dirty!’ Perfection and caregiving don’t mix. Tea anyone?”
“Yes, I feel helpless often! No, I can’t do much about the big issues of our lives. I can do much about the small ones. I’m a caregiver, not a god or a doctor. As a caregiver, I can do something about some important issues—I can be present, listen, hold a hand, and give a cup of cool water. I am a caregiver—not a god!”
“Lots of things make me laugh. I love the two people who are my caregivers…they both make me laugh a lot. One time I thought I was going to fall out of my wheelchair, they had me laughing so much. I love going on walks. I love looking at people and noticing the small things about them. I like to see people pulled over for traffic violations…I don’t know why but it makes me laugh. I love sitting and staring at the clouds…I guess I’m like Charlie Brown and his friends naming the clouds. I laugh when I have friends over and I can cook for them.”
—A man living in a caregiving relationship
“The other day, I was examining all the prescription bottles in our cabinet. I suddenly felt grateful for the amazing miracles of modern medicine and chemistry. Then I thought: Maybe the most amazing miracle is that I stay present to my child with my love, my hope, my little comforting acts, my encouragement and even a regular smile. I let myself feel very good about what I do as a caregiver.
We humans are small—finite—mortal—very vulnerable— capable of great atrocities and evil. But we are equally capable of magnificent acts of compassion and relational beauty. It is my time to show the latter to my beloved.”
—A caregiving parent
“I know that I take myself and what has happened in our family much too seriously. It is serious, but it can swamp me if I don’t adjust to the reality that it is going to be this way for a long time. I need to smile more—even laugh out loud more—not easy considering the circumstances. So, one thing I have done is set up a few surprises that will usually bring a smile or even a laugh. I definitely need that to happen if I am going to stay sane and balanced in this lopsided life as a caregiver.
I occasionally find a short statement that makes me laugh. Sometimes I just write it on my bathroom mirror in lipstick. That makes for a good way to start a day or even helps me when I’m out of bed to answer nature’s call in the middle of the night. At other times, I will write the statement on a small piece of paper and may even crumple it and then hide it in an odd place—like a knife drawer, in my wallet between the ones or under my pillow. Oh, I know it sounds silly but so what! If it makes me chuckle in the midst of all of this, then it is good foolishness.
Here are a few samples of what makes me chuckle. A couple of these hit so close to the bone that I never know if they will make me laugh or cry—but I always hope I’ll laugh when I discover words like these:
On the other hand…you have different fingers. I just got lost in thought. It wasn’t familiar territory. I feel like I’m diagonally parked in a parallel universe. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
Remember—if the world did not suck, we would all fall off.
The shinbone is an appendage for finding furniture in a dark room.
Wrinkles are something others have, similar to my character lines.
When everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane. Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.”
For more caregiver quotes & information
These caregiver quotes come directly from my book, Guide for Caregivers. Each chapter includes quotes like these from caregivers from all walks of life. Guide for Caregivers is designed to restore balance to your spirit—to replace sadness with laughter, fear with hope, exhaustion with vitality, mourning with gratitude, emptiness with joy and burnout with a rekindled passion.