I am excited to be sitting here, writing the inaugural Caregiver Lighthouse blog. I wish I could say that getting to this point has been stress free. But then I’d be lying which is not who I am. It’s taken persistence, encouragement and the support of my family and many of my friends to get me here. I learned a lot about one of the most important things I teach family caregivers – ask for help. I didn’t – and couldn’t – have done this on my own. I am deeply grateful for all the help I had. So, why did I go through all the ups and downs of starting this new part of my business?
Everywhere I turned there were messages and signs telling me this is the path I needed to take. Someone would show up on my doorstep to buy a book, I’d randomly run into a caregiver and be able to help them through a situation, or I’d get a phone call to do a presentation on how to help family caregivers. I had to start paying attention.
When I was desperate for information on how to survive being a family caregiver, and find a place where I could talk about my fears and worries without being embarrassed or feeling ashamed, there was none to be found. I found myself being the ears for other caregivers and helped them find solutions to the overwhelm they were feeling. I guess it’s no wonder that I am where I am now – ready to help you.
I wear my heart on my sleeve. I’ve thought I had a good poker face but it seems I don’t hide my true feelings and opinions very well. Sometimes you might find what I say very inspirational and useful. Other times you may disagree with what I am sharing. That is what will make this a powerful community. If we always agreed with each other, life would be boring!
Over the years, the one thing that has pulled me from depths of despair and brought me more joy than one can imagine, is that I learned I am 100% for my life, my thoughts and my actions. I can’t control everything (believe me, I’ve tried!). I can choose happiness. I can choose peace. I couldn’t choose or control the cancer that overtook Callum’s body. I could – and did – choose to help both of us live while he was dying. Did I do everything right? Absolutely not. Do I regret any of it? Not a bit. Well, OK. Maybe a little bit. My health and stress got out of control and I never paid attention to any of the signs that I was heading for caregiver burnout. My “happy caregiver” face was with me wherever I went and it fooled pretty much everyone. If they only knew my body was running on adrenaline and the stress sucked out any sense of reason from my brain. Heck, if I only knew!
That is why I am here. My service is to you. I was given the gift of calmly listening to people who are facing troubling times in their life and have to make life-changing decisions. I help them cut through the fog that takes over their thoughts, overcome their fears, and help them find solutions for their most stressful worries. The lighthouse brings safety from the storm, provides respite for your weary soul and body, and gets your plan in place with the confidence to carry on. Welcome to our community.