Things in Erin’s Head 

 

It’s the day of LOVE. Romantic love. Family love. Sleepy, fur-baby love… and CAREGIVER love. 

I was a featured guest on the Navigating Cancer Together podcast. The host Talaya is a cancer doula and patient advocate and she has this beautiful calmness about her. During our interview it was like she made space for me to breathe and it brought out things in me that I hadn’t really touched on before. So I encourage you to take a listen. She also pulled out some fun highlights that I’m sharing with you today and I’m adding three ways to show some love to the Caregivers in your world.

Below is the link to my episode and you can also catch more of Talaya’s episodes using this link: NAVIGATING CANCER TOGETHER.

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TALAYA’S TAKEAWAY #1

“Care for the Caregiver: Throughout our conversation, Erin emphasized the crucial need for caregivers to prioritize their well-being.” 

This is very easily said. It’s also logical. But putting it into action? Easier said than done. (check out Dr. Sarah Edwards’ description of the Impossible Task).

ERIN’S TIP

Instead of asking, “What are you doing for you?” perhaps ask your Caregiver, “How can I support you?” Many times, just asking this question is enough to invoke a feeling of being seen and understood.

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TALAYA’S TAKEAWAY #2

“Acknowledging the Trauma: Erin bravely opened up about the emotional toll that caregiving can take. She shared how she wished she had known about the trauma factor beforehand and how it’s okay to acknowledge the difficulties and struggles that come with it.”

Once there was a nurse who asked Jerry, “On a scale of one to ten, how much distress are you feeling about your diagnosis?” Jerry was like… a TWO… and I blurted out that I was a TWENTY.

The nurse laughed.

I wasn’t joking.

ERIN’S TIP

If you can hug the Caregiver in your world, hug them. If you do a web search on the benefits of hugs, you’ll find all kinds of information (I liked this Huffington Post UK article). Our post-pandemic world has made physical closeness and touch feel… really scary… so know that things like hugging a pet, using a weighted blanket, and hugging YOURSELF, can all invoke the same benefits and a human-to-human embrace. (which also reminds me that I’m an affiliate for the Cuddle Me Love BODY PILLOW – which may make an awesome gift for the Caregiver in your world.) 

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TALAYA’S TAKEAWAY #3

“Honoring Personal Journeys: Erin emphasized that caregiving is a deeply personal experience, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.” 

We are all different. And we are all the same. We all have the feelings. We don’t process them the same way. What triggers me may not affect you. 

Several years ago I was hired by a mother to give massages to her adult son who was in hospice with brain cancer. His room was stark and I wondered (aloud – to his mother – without thinking) if having family photos around wouldn’t help him feel more comfortable. Ohhh, y’all. My intentions were good. But I can still feel the lash marks on my heart from the anger that was whipped at me. I immediately understood how I had stepped out of line. I wasn’t there every day. I didn’t know the depths of his disease. I wasn’t privy to the conversations and decisions they made, together, as a family with regard to his care and decline. I floated in and out, making him laugh, offering compassionate touch to ease his final days. But I didn’t live what that Caregiver lived. I wasn’t watching the person I loved most die before my eyes. Yet, here I was, bouncing in with unsolicited suggestions on how they could care for him *better.* It simply wasn’t my place.

ERIN’S TIP

Be mindful. Offer grace. Try to withhold judgment. And if you slip up? Offer yourself a little grace. Try to withhold judgment… and show yourself some love. 

Because it’s all about love…

If you aren’t already a member, I invite you to join my Taking the Pause group in Facebook
where I’ll be talking more about embracing ease and the tools of the Empowered Caregiver.