Imagine that you have set your life course, made healthy choices, found your life partner, had a family, and have seen them on their way. Next comes the time to think about your future with your partner: how you will provide for yourselves going forward, the planning of trips, paying off those big bills and helping your children with their educations. Then, out of the blue, your partner is diagnosed with a serious illness.

This is just a snippet of my story of appreciation—of life, of my partner, of my health and my children’s health—and how to keep going forward knowing that things can change in an instant. This is a new part of my life now; my role as a caregiver.

Many of us don’t think something like this will ever happen to us (or we don’t want to think about it), but we do not choose our future and we must use our resources to gather the strength to move forward. There are so many thoughts that enter your mind when faced with life changing events, and they usually arrive in the middle of the night. When you are an advocate for your partner, your days are filled with helping navigate through the information overload around treatments, medications, financial issues, hospital visits, choices of care, and questions about the possible length of time you have to share together. These are just some of the challenges that I deal with on a daily basis, but when I feel overwhelmed, I reach out to people and organizations I know have the knowledge, understanding, or compassion to help.

Who am I, you ask? I am your friend, neighbour, co-worker, sister or brother. I am just one of many out there who share the same challenges and want to let you know you are not alone. At the same time, I am the friend, neighbour or co-worker of someone you know dealing with these challenges.

Which brings me to the simple pleasures of life we must enjoy now–lighting that candle when the power goes out, playing cards with family, or taking in a movie with my partner. Cooking delicious meals and enjoying them together or with family and friends is another favoured event. Providing a caregiver a meal, a visit or a simple phone call to let them know you are thinking of them can make a world of difference. There are so many small things you can do or receive to make this difficult time manageable.

The caregiver must also look after themselves, as I have recently discovered. As much as you think you have it all in hand, another curve ball may be thrown your way and you have to make choices for your own health as well… but these are just some of the many challenges of life, as change is constant… and life is good.

Written by anonymous

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