How's this for serendipity. Not to mention good fortune.
On the day I was celebrating my 1000th post I received an email from Luc Bergevin who works on media operations at Caring.com. He told me my blog, Random Thoughts, this one, the one you're reading right this minute has been recognized as one of the great caregiver stories on the web. I very proudly ask you to head on over to 18 Great Caregiver Stories on the Web and check out some other caregiving blogs, videos, and photographs that will inspire you. I am in very good company.
Of course I'm honored by this. Caring.com is a wonderful site chock full information about caregiving. It's the kind of place you can go in the middle of the night when the person you're caring for has just driven you to the brink of insanity, or when you don't know where else to turn in advance of, or after an emergency. For me, it was usually about 2am when dad's heart rhythm decided to do the hoochi coochi. I'd call 911. The EMT's would cart him off to the hospital. The same man who was pale and not looking so good at home, perked up once all the ER people hovered around him. That's when his need for control kicked in and he told doctors and nurses with a whole lot more training than him, how to do their job. Eventually, they'd find him a room where they could "observe" him or run some tests. He'd settle in and fall asleep. I'd drag myself home. My system still on full alert, there was no way I could sleep. After a hot shower, I'd sit at my computer and reach out for the kind of comfort Caring.com offers. Support groups, blogs, humor stories, hot topics for caregivers, information on senior care facilities, and my favorite, stories about others in the same boat.
Did you know there are about 10,000 people turning 65 every day? Boomers - the cream filling between parent care and grandchild care cookies. At a time when we once looked forward to retiring, my generation is facing what could easily be called a caregiver's crisis. The numbers are staggering. The health care system is broken. The economy not so hot. Someone has to take care of a growing elderly population. Not to mention children who return home, grandchildren, and/or spouses. It is no wonder that Caring.com has over two million visitors a month. It is also the leading resource for senior care reviews on the web.
My blog is only unique in that I wrote about me and my mom and dad. The blogosphere is full of other caregiving stories, which is why I feel so honored to be included. However, as I mentioned in an earlier blog, a part of me feels less than and undeserving. I can hear a voice, that sounds curiously like a grumpy old man I knew so well, "who do you think you are?" It's hard to quiet those negative voices. Being recognized by Caring.com is a powerful reminder that I am a writer. Maybe one day I'll toot my own horn, as I am here, and, while remaining sufficiently humble, still feel deserving.
For the sake of honesty, I'd like to tell you that my good friend, mentor and writing coach is the person who nominated me. You know how they say on the TV award shows, it's an honor just to be nominated. Well, in this case, since Carol O'Dell, is the person I aspire to be on many levels, it's an honor that she considers me noticeable. She reads a lot of others' works. She knows her stuff. So if she thinks I'm good enough to join the Careing.com community, then I'm taking a bow, saying thank you and hugging myself like Sally Field hugged her Oscar and rejoicing like a fool. "They like me!"
If you're a follower, you know I haven't been writing much about caregiving since Dad died. When the loved one you've been caring for crosses over, the person who needs unlimited supplies of tender care, is you. But once you've sat on a par with God, it's oh so hard to give that position over to someone else and accept help for yourself. I think I new that intellectually, but had no idea what it would feel like in reality. I can attest to the fact that grief, in all it's forms - anger, depression, denial, etc, took as much out of me as late night wake up calls and arguments over silly stuff I can't even remember now. No, I hadn't been putting on my own oxygen mask. In fact, I'd barely been breathing at all. So the first deep inhalations I took after we buried Dad were more like sucking on an exhaust pipe than taking in rich, clean take-care-of-yourself air. Writing about grief was as natural a segway as learning how to live again - for myself not someone else.
The thing is I'm a caregiver at heart. With Baby B to nanny and my friend who has started referring to herself as "Old Woman" I should still have some posts that fit into the Caring.com category.
Please, please, please go over to Caring.com. Get acquainted with the site. Read the stories. You may not know when you'll need them, but it's a pretty good bet you will. Like my daddy used to say, "it's better to be prepared, than sorry."
Feeling honored and proud,