In the wake of all this new interest and knowledge, caregivers have moved into the spotlight. We caregivers have a collective voice that speaks compellingly; we write books, attend support group meetings, and elicit empathy by the "noble" sacrifices we have made in order to do the work of providing care to others.
At a recent meeting I attended, a list of the symptoms of "Caregiver Syndrome" were listed. Daunting statistics about the well-being of someone who cares for the needs of a health compromised loved one were read. The implication was that it is unwise to sacrifice oneself on behalf of another person, especially when that person is dementia afflicted and on the way out of this world anyway.
This line of reasoning can lead to tragic outcomes not only for people who are in need of loving support as they go through the process of suffering and dying, but also for caregivers who receive the subtle message, "Put your own needs first." A refusal to move into a caregiving role may in truth be a resistance to the honing influence of circumstances God would use to bring great blessing.
The Lord has made it clear to me that my mother's concerns are paramount in His eyes. Mom is undergoing the final phase of her life journey and it's as though God says to me, "Do not abandon her out of fear for yourself. Be brave with the courage I will provide, be strong with the strength I give. To say 'I can't' is to say that the Lord is not sufficient for your needs."
I am strong with His strength, enabled by His enabling power to face down my fear and aversion to illness and death so I can stay by my mother's side as she nears the end of her life's journey. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His faithful servants..." (Psalm 116:15) This is a solemn and precious time for my mother. It's only right that her needs trump mine for now.
There will be life for me after my mother's Alzheimer's. I have the Lord's assurance that He will see me through and that His promises to me will be fulfilled. I don't have to worry about myself; the Lord is my Caregiver, I shall not want!