Gratitude is a lovely concept.
When you work hard to provide care for someone and you are exhausted to the point of tears from giving so much, sometimes you just want to hear, “Thank you.” As in, “Thank you for taking such good care of my mom.” As in, “Thank you for giving up income or a social life to deal with Dad.” As in, “Thank you for doing all of the messy caregiving tasks so I don’t have to do them.” Feeling appreciated is valuable and can boost your morale when you need it most. Yet, expressed gratitude from others can be hard to come by.
When the people who are relying on you for help do not acknowledge your efforts and dedication, it feels insulting. It often feels like the least thing that your sibling or your client’s loved one could do is thank you but it sometimes fails to occur. Why is that?
Many people feel guilty for not helping out more with their loved one. They feel frustrated with themselves because they lack the time, the location, or the patience to be a caregiver. It is self protective to dwell on their loved one’s situation as little as possible. Therefore, they don’t really think about the caregiver either.
Think about it – if you were never a caregiver you could not really appreciate how demanding the role is. You could only imagine the emotional and physical drain that accompanies the job. If you don’t know how stressful caregiving is it might not occur to you to thank someone for doing it. Now that you have experienced it, you will always thank a caregiver or praise them for their help, as you should.
It’s common for adult children to deny that their parents are declining. They do not want to admit their parents need as much help as you are giving. Denial is another type of self protection that has nothing to do with you. It is easier for them to think your caregiving is unnecessary martyrdom.
We all have complicated relationships in our lives and those complications do not automatically dissipate with age. It is not uncommon for an adult child who has had a somewhat abusive or a completely abusive relationship with his parent to still feel tremendous resentment toward his parent. Just because an older person looks cute and helpless to a caregiver, doesn’t mean the person knows how to treat her son lovingly and respectfully. Sometimes a person distances himself from his parents for his own mental and emotional well being. Therefore, his focus is not on your caregiving. The anger has nothing to do with you.
Some people are just rude. Not too many people fall under this category but some simply find politeness to be overrated.
Pain and Illness
Words of thanks from those you care for can be a rarity. Those who are gravely ill, lost in a world of dementia, or suffering from unrelenting pain might be incapable of expressing their gratitude to you. Trust that they do appreciate you on some level. How could they not?
I believe that when these people pass on, they see you and are so filled with love and gratitude for you and your service. I believe the love they feel for you would be overwhelming to you if they could express it. Please trust in this concept!
Being appreciated is something I hope you hear and feel often. If you do not, I hope you know deep down that you are a wonderful person who is making a tremendous difference in someone’s life. You are not only helping the person in need of care; you are demonstrating to others what “Selfless” looks like. You probably do not realize how many people are watching you when you go out on an errand with your loved one and they are admiring you or learning from you. You should know there are so many of us who are rooting for you and advocating for your needs in social and political arenas. We appreciate you. Hang in there. Know that you are a Star. So…
Thank You. Really and sincerely, thank you so much.
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