Today was another first in my post-caregiving/grief journey. Just when I think I've rounded the corner and have a long, smooth road ahead of me, I trip over a bump I didn't see.
I need a job. Not just because I need the money. I need to have something to occupy my time and mind. I need to feel useful again. I need a purpose. I signed on with care.com months ago. Filled out a profile, had a background check, applied for a few jobs and heard nothing back. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
I suppose I have to take partial responsibility for that. I have not been terribly pro-active. After my first few unanswered applications to jobs that sounded like a perfect fit, I ran out of steam.
I was surprised to get an email from a guy yesterday who needs a caregiver for his mother. She has cancer. She's in hospice. The job would not be all that different from what I did for my parents. I jumped at the opportunity. Then I slammed on the brakes. I was overcome with doubt.
Funny. On one hand, I am completely confident in my caregiving abilities. Then I get cold feet and question every one of them. As a matter of principle, I forced myself to walk through my fear and answer the man's email. Which led to today's interview.
Again, I felt trapped in a revolving door of emotions. Confident then doubtful. Self-assured then afraid. Knowing I couldn't let my emotions rule the day, I rallied and walked into the interview hoping I looked better than I felt.
I knew just about everything I needed to know when I walked in the door. The oxygen concentrator in the corner of the room, with long air tubes stretching across the rooms like life-giving tentacles. The recliner chair in front of the t.v. The table full of medications. I can't say that it was exactly deja vu. But I felt like I'd walked into a time warp. I'd been there before. After 15 minutes of conversation I began to feel overwhelmed with sadness. As I spoke of the care I gave my father, the hospice experience, his final weeks, I had to force back the tears that I've let flow for 18 months. While I told the man all the reasons I thought I could handle the job physically, I doubted myself on a purely emotional level.
Weird, isn't it, that I can with all sincerity say, caregiving is my passion, my soul's purpose. Yet when faced with doing it again, something inside me says, "hold on there, pardner. Let's think this through a little better."
The interview was a little disjointed because of several interruptions. I had time to look (re) compose myself. I left without a clue how things went. I was one of many who applied for the job. I'm not sure how my qualifications will stack up. To be honest I think I'll be relieved if I'm not picked. I don't think I'm cut out for that kind of job just yet. So if nothing else, I learned a little something. This is a good thing, right?
To add just a few more questions to my already confused state of mind, I stopped by a friend's house on the way home. She's 91 years old, not feeling so well, has health issues, etc. I dropped in to take her some banana bread and a prayer shawl. After a few minutes of conversation I got ready to leave and she said, "wait, I need a hug." I didn't realize it until her arms were around me, how much I needed a hug. In her arms I felt validated. That I do have a call to serve elders. Maybe I'm just not as ready to be an end of life doula as I once thought.
Where did I see God today? In the eyes of a man who honors his mother and wants only the best for her. In the toothless smile of a woman who doesn't get much company these days.