Carmen Abela-Burns imagined that living together with her mom would enable them to spend good quality time together taking walks and having lunch. As her mother’s dementia progressed, it unfortunately looked a little different. She was a caregiver to both her mother and step-father for many years. As a thoughtful veteran caregiver, she shared with Ways & Wane the key advice she would give to other caregivers.
“We want our lives back—and anyone who says they don’t is lying—and yet we don’t want to let our loved one go,” says Carmen.
“We are programmed to care for people to live. We are not programmed to care for people to die. . . Your role as a caregiver is to care for them in the most loving, compassionate way possible so that they can go, having felt that.”
How do you continue that compassionate care?
Carmen’s message is one of “get support”. That aspect is key to the mission here at Ways & Wane since we also strongly believe that no one should be a caregiver without support from a variety of sources.
As caregivers who are constantly pouring out, being able to fill your own pitcher through a support network, education and self-care, is the only way to continue to pour out to others.
You may also like: Her Mom’s Surgery Became a Caregiving Trial Run.
May you find joy in loving one another well!
Elizabeth Dameron-Drew is the Co-founder and President of Ways & Wane. She walked closely with her own father through his years of waning. She lives near Seattle with her two teenage sons, husband and two rescue dogs. When she’s not working on this platform she’s probably creating books, doing research or planning a dinner party while listening to the rain and thinking about her next creative endeavor.