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Even when you don’t feel positive; even when you don’t feel cheerful; even when you no longer want to be providing care; even if you are tired, lonely and  discouraged - stay positive. You have chosen to help a loved one. The very best way you can do that is to work on your own attitude and your own doubt. Your affection for this individual should be enough to keep you going in a positive direction. But, even if it isn’t, you signed on to this task.  It may get worse before it gets better. It may never get better, but you are there to help. Maybe the best way to help them get rid of her doubt is to get rid of your own. Even if it seems difficult, it is possible. Both of you have a lot to gain with your changing your attitude.


Love Makes the Pain Bearable – When the nine first responders were in our bedroom,  my most poignant thoughts were for Wendy and how I didn’t want the end of our marriage to occur in tragedy. But even though I still felt great anxiety, my feelings for her strengthened  until I could come to the realization that she was being attended by highly-skilled professionals and other influences I didn’t fully understand.  Once I moved through those steps I felt better. I had a peaceful feeling she was going to be all right and that we had time left. I determined then I would help us make the best of that time, including doing whatever it would take to make her life better than it otherwise would have been.     


We All Want To Give Love – But sometimes we just can’t do it. It may be because we are not physically or emotionally able, or it might be because our loved one’s condition is simply beyond our physical ability to make a difference. Either way is difficult and exasperating. Medical emergencies test a relationship differently than most other tests. The physical tasks, the necessity to be correct and extended hours put pressures on the relationship that have not been placed there before. It is logical to assume that everyone has a breaking point. Most of us have never been forced to reach it. Until that moment is reached, we simply do not know how we will react to the physical and emotional pressures. In a medical emergency those pressures combine to create a far too familiar setting for our ability to adjust.


No Substitute for Love - The greatest motivator of change possibly is deep, abiding, loyal love. The burden of the task and the incessant duties and responsibilities of caring had suffocated the love and romance out of over half of those relationships I researched. (3)  That finding shocked me!  Although the situation mostly applies to spouses it can also apply to other care givers as well.  Lost love certainly can be, and often is, one of the saddest casualties of caregiving! 


Love Can Change Your Health - The message of how an increase of love can change the caregivers’ experience and improve the loved one’s health mentally, as well as physically, is a significant one. This sure principle of love needs to be heard and believed.  The attitude of love and affection must be maintained. It is the surest way to regenerate energy and service when the physical tasks appear to be overwhelming. Love is what helps the caregiver keep going. It may, in many cases, be the only thing enabling the caregiver to keep going. It is probably the best possible quick fix for a weary caregiver.

Final Thoughts - In most of the cases where the caregiver had diminished love, the individuals were exhausted and the fatigue was changing their emotional resistance. Frequently those comments came from caregivers who were also frustrated because of their inability to escape from the caregiving routine. In addition, their frustration had forced upon them the need to place blame. Thus, the blame fell on their loved one. Then, searching for some relief, the frustrated caregivers insisted they were losing or had lost their original love and they didn’t know what to do about it. The relationship, as difficult as it might be, matters more than the sacrifices to fix it. Trying and doing are hard enough. But not reaching accord is the hardest part of all. Accord will likely be the real byproduct of consistent efforts. Love is the answer. Loving is the process. Happiness for everyone is the ultimate reward. Love and happiness actually can change hearts and lives. It can also change yours with that same effort, lovingly and sincerely extended to your loved one.