WHEN THE CONFUSED ELDER PUTS THE CAREGIVER ON AN EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER-Why me God?

Why me God? Why did this happen to me? If you have ever asked this, read on.

While caring for her parent who suffers from delusions, a dear friend of mine has received so much comfort from this book that I want to share a chapter with you.

(Book excerpt)

At some point, most long-term caregivers ask the why question. It’s either “Why me, God? Or Why her?”

Isobel is typical. It took a long time before she realized her mother was suffering from a form of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease. Once the doctor’s named it, her question became, “Why my mother?” She cried and wept over the painful situation. Her mother had suffered so much that it just didn’t seem fair.

Eventually, it became obvious that her mother could no longer live alone. Isobel and Paul took care of her for the next four and a half years. Isobel’s mother became increasingly difficult to care for. Although she was demanding and manipulative, there was no question of not keeping her or of putting her in a nursing facility.

During this time, Isobel often asked, “Why me, God?”

Isobel isn’t alone. At some point in the midst of their pain and deep agony, most caregivers ask, “Why, God? “Why?’

As a former pastor, I realized long ago that Why? May not be the real question.

The worst response I ever heard came from a man at a funeral home. A thirty-nine-year-old mother had died. Her husband couldn’t stop weeping. I was there when he asked, “Why? Why did it have to be her? Why couldn’t it have been me?”

The husband’s friend resorted to reason and explained that life isn’t always fair, and that sometimes good people have to suffer as much or more than the wicked. He droned on and even talked about his slain buddies in the Vietnam War.

The bereaved man stopped crying, but I don’t think it was because of any of his friend’s answers. The lecture-and it really was one-made him feel stupid and selfish for wanting his wife.

Why? May need to be asked-and even encouraged-but it doesn’t have to be answered. Even if we had an answer, would it make a difference? Even if God whispered the reason behind the illness, would it change anything? Probably not.

The long-term caregiver still has the burden. The parent is still ill, and the child is still caring.

If Why? isn’t the real question we need answered, what are we really seeking? For each person, the pain behind the question may be quite different.

For one, the inner voice may be pleading, “God, assure me that you’re with me. Help me know you care.” To another, the question may be prompted by fears of inadequacy to cope.

Some find the question difficult to ask, as if they are demanding God to become accountable. Others are ashamed for being weak enough to ask.

I’ve learned one thing from this question. It’s wonderfully freeing to ask. Those who have wept and asked repeatedly have told me that they often found relief-perhaps not peace, but some rest from the turmoil-by simply asking the question aloud and allowing their hearts to speak the anguish they feel.

Book excerpt from: my parents, my children – Spiritual Help for Caregivers by Cecil Murphey

Published: Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky

The day after my friend started reading this book. She came to me with a smile on her face and told me how much this book was helping her. It was just the help she need at the time she needed it.

 

Virginia Garberding, R.N.

Director of Education, The Wealshire, Lincolnshire, Illinois

Author: Please Get To Know Me – Aging with Dignity and Relevance

www.pleasegettoknowme.com

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