7. Wish I’d sought out support groups and organizations earlier
I was devastated and overwhelmed with the task of caregiving. Initially, it was hard for me because I thought I was alone, especially when I didn’t get the family and community support I truly needed. As a new caregiver, I felt isolated. Without a support network, I was losing myself in the process.
True, I was trying to turn to family and friends for support, but many of them had limited-to-no experience with caregiving. I realize now that many of them didn’t understand, couldn’t relate, or simply didn’t have the caregiving gene. In some cases, the energy I expended pleading for their help was wasted.
Eventually, I found organizations and groups providing resources and support to caregivers like me. It was comforting to discover that I wasn’t alone after all, but could link up with like-minded people for support and encouragement. In fact, I learned more about my mother’s condition, possible reactions to medications, other preferred doctors and so much more from caregivers in the support group. In hindsight, I would have been more proactive in searching out support groups and resourceful organizations early on.
One final note
Yes, there are days when I am afflicted by the should-have, could-have, and would-have syndrome. But if I could go back and re-start my caregiving journey with Mama, I would most likely still have the should-have syndrome, because there’s no such thing as being the perfect caregiver. In fact, the perfect caregiver is simply a present caregiver. I was present when Mama needed me most, and this is the reality that allows me to face myself each morning in the mirror.
In hindsight, foresight and now-sight, we as caregivers do feel guilty at times. But based on what we knew at the time, we must recognize that we gave our absolute best. And our best is good enough. Yes, our best is good enough.