Care Giving: Experiencing Change Means Chaos and Grief

Any time we encounter change — and becoming a care giver is definitely a change — we go through a change process.

Here’s a simple diagram I’ve adapted to help explain the process we go through.

The Change Process of a Difficult Season

The Change Process of a Difficult Season

We’re happily going along in normality when an event comes along — in this case becoming a care giver — and everything changes.

Suddenly things become chaotic. The emotions of grief show up because we’ve lost our old normal.

Sometimes we’re in denial or disbelief, sometimes we find that we are angry, other times we are filled with longing for the way things used to be, and then we’ll find ourselves feeling quite depressed.  And off and on, we’ll be accepting of the changes that have occurred.  Actually, we’ll generally feel all of these emotions at the same time, but one will tend to be stronger on any given day than the others.

And guess what?  Everyone touched by the change is going through the same stuff.  Except on any given day, different people may be in different places emotionally.  It’s true for the caregiver’s family, and it’s also true for the care receiver.

Just understanding that the chaos is normal and that the grief emotions are normal helps. It provides a framework for naming what you’re feeling.

How long will this last? It depends.  How big is the change?  How disruptive is it?  How serious is what’s caused the change?  How long is the caregiving responsibility going to last.  How difficult is it to achieve a stable caregiving arrangement?

What you can be certain of is that the time of chaos will end, and you’ll emerge into a time of new normal. You don’t go back to the old normal because it doesn’t exist any more.  You bring your new experiences with you into the new normal.

Four years ago we were visiting with Dad when a change event happened and I became his care giver.  We’ll talk about that next.

  1. I’ve read from Chinese book – “DAO”, that even if it seems to you that the whole world becomes chaos – it means chaos is inside of you. What you have to do is sit, calm down and try to look inside of you and ask yourself a question… It is very difficult sometimes because we are so overwhelmed with our imaginations and fears, but it is the only way to be in piece with yourself. Take care.

  1. There are no trackbacks for this post yet.