November is National Caregiver Month and today’s post comes from Susanne White, founder of Caregiver Warrior. She was blessed with the opportunity to care for her parents and ventured out on a journey that would change her life. She blogs about this journey on her website and shares her experience, strength and hope with others so that they too may survive caregiving with grace and empowerment. Follow her on Twitter @caregivewarrior and on LinkedIn.
The following post originally appeared here on Susanne’s website.
Susanne’s Story: Why Do I Always Cry In Hospitals?
I’m laying on a table getting an ultrasound of my ankle that I have sprained recently. I am in tears not only because it’s painful, but because apparently whenever I am in a doctor’s office or medical institution I get really teary. I warn whoever is working on me not to worry if they see me cry, that it’s just a reaction I always have. Then I sit or lay there silently with tears running down my face.
I don’t quite know why I cry. I can calm myself down and breathe but the tears still fall.
When I get like this in a hospital or medical environment I immediately think of my Dad and wonder yet again how he managed to go through so much physical pain and discomfort throughout all the medical procedures we put him through. The last few years of his life were filled with hospitals and doctors and he was such a trooper.
I marvel now how he survived his war wounds (he almost lost both of his legs from shrapnel exploding under his legs as he flew his plane during the Second World War), and then his open heart surgery at 87 which he chose to have so he could help take care of my Mom.
I think back now on all he endured in his life because of his love for others and his desire to serve them. I was by his side for his last medical journeys, and as I look back I am amazed how courageous, positive and grateful he was. He had so much grace, patience, and humor, and was a great patient. I truly believe he healed as well and as fast as he did because of his attitude and his gratitude.
During the caregiving journey with my Dad, we were able to connect in a way I never thought possible. We got to know each other deeply and really expressed how much we loved and appreciated one another. It was an honor to be his caregiver.
Perhaps that’s why I cry silently when I am in a medical facility or having a procedure. Maybe I miss him and am flooded with memories. Maybe I am touched once again by the realization of how brave he was and how he always had a smile for me and would reach out and pat me. Maybe I feel him pat me now and the warmth, tenderness, and love of that gesture makes me fill up and want to brim over. I feel him tell me it’s okay.
I have learned to be gentle with myself and let the tears fall. I have heard that with every tear comes a little healing.
My Dad left me with a tremendous legacy of courage, positivity and self-awareness.
May I be as good a patient as he was and if that comes with a few tears along the way that’s just fine by me.
May his power of example and generosity for those taking care of him show me the way on my journey.
May I always feel him by my side even as I miss his physical presence.
Thanks, Pop, for being you.
Thank you, Susanne, for sharing your touching caregiver story with us!
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