The other day I was in a Support Group for ALS. I was listening to a man talk about caring for his wife. He needed to talk, I could tell. She was bedridden and he was the only caretaker. He had been doing it for some time. I sat intently listening to him go on about how much he loved his wife, and how he was in it till the end. He spoke with such compassion and love. I almost broke down in the meeting. Then he said what we all knew. He was tired…so tired that sometimes he didn’t know if he could make it. He said, “What kind of husband would I be if I left, but sometimes I don’t know if I can go through one more day.” My heart went out to him. I knew the type of tired he was talking about. I knew because I had experienced it, first hand. I also had seen that same look on my brother who stayed in the house with both parents who were diagnosed with ALS.
It got me thinking, how tired was too tired? Was it weary…so tired that you had to use a different word to define it? Weary means exhausted in strength, endurance, vigor, or freshness. Yes…that tired and then some. I remember working four days a week. Fridays were my day off but I was committed to one, helping my Dad and two, providing a much-needed respite for my brother. The fact that my Mom had ALS and had passed almost 3 years before my Dad is a story for a different time. I handled most of the paperwork, and did most of the communication with outside issues because my Dad could no longer speak.
Although most of my time was spent either at work or at my Dad’s, I still had a husband to love and (4) small grandchildren who had no idea of what I was going through. And I had me. I have lived long enough to know that I needed to care for me. There was no down time. Every moment was accounted for. Somedays I wondered how I kept going. Even after my parents died, I was the executor of the will and responsible for carrying out their last wishes. I wrote their eulogies, planned their funerals, and eventually buried them both in Holtville, a small border town on the California side of Mexico. I was responsible for dividing the assets and in my mind, making sure it was done in such a way, that my family remained intact. It was a tall order and I was tired…really tired. Besides being hurt, experiencing loss and feeling like my heart was torn out of my chest…I had to keep moving. In that same time frame, I lost my best friend to Cancer, my Aunt passed away and my childhood friend’s son was murdered.
I share this because I want you to know that moments like this do no last forever. (You could not have told me that while I was going through it). My faith is what carried me through and kept me from drowning. How tired is too tired? You are too tired when you can not stop long enough to administer self-care. There are moments when this can happen. Here is what I want you to know. In the thick of whatever you are going through…You will get through! There is an end. You will prevail. Take your walk on water faith and do what is set before you…And then I want you to remember, you are worthy of 5 minutes, 10 minutes to cry…pray…stop…rest…close your eyes…listen to a song…ask someone for help…accept a favor…take a walk…fall apart…be mad at God…and be in silence over your circumstances.
Promise me that you will find time in the day to give yourself the care it will take to arrive at the conclusion of your journey with hope, life lessons that transform those around you and a new understanding that without YOU none of what happened could have been possible.