Creating that plan was another layer of stress for me.
What I did to solve the problem of his care was to assess
what he could and could not do. Then I found other
reliable team members to check on him throughout the
day to make sure he was doing what he needed to do to
take care of himself. I created a team of neighbors and
friends who each did a small part. Of course, they had the
phone number of where I was at all times. Once I created
the plan and the team, I left town for a short vacation,
knowing that I had done the best that I possibly could to
make sure John was fine. I just breathed, left town and let
go of my need to control every moment of his care.
After my first success at creating respite for myself,
I realized the positive results were two-fold: first I got
away from John and his care — I healed. Second, John
got away from me and learned to be more responsible for
himself. We both grew! What joy!
After 25 years of learning lessons about caregiving, my
days are now filled with the honor of being able to be of
service to another person. I am grateful that I was given
the opportunity to learn these lessons. The best part of it
all is that I can now share my lessons learned with others.
My new music—my life’s purpose—is that of sharing how
I learned to live joyfully as a caregiver.
I truly hope you will find as much joy in caregiving as
I have. I hope that I have given you a small gift in sharing
the lessons that I learned. Be at peace with yourself and
your role. You are a caregiver.
Editor’s Note: Nancy Weckwerth is the author of Don’t Stop
the Music: Finding the Joy in Caregiving.
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John Swan (far right) performs at a jazz club in DelRay Beach in 1982