Watchers, we are not Experts in chronic illness

“Lights on, hours before dawn.

In pain someone rolls.

It’s not me, never me,

for whom the bell tolls.”

For me, there is something clarifying in forcing my emotions to submit to the demands of rhythm and rhyme.

Happy Thursday!

Obviously it’s been a while since I posted. Lately my thoughts have not been ordered enough to sit down and blog, the reason for this being that new health problems have arisen in the lives of my Loved Ones (and hence in my life).

And so, I’ve spent some time grieving, some time trying to figure out my response, and even more time wondering what the future will look like. As of yet, I don’t have any answers, and I’m not sure when ones will be forthcoming – but this I know: my God goes on before me.

In an attempt to process this new upheaval I spent some time writing poetry. I offer this as an explanation as to why I haven’t been writing here, but also because I thought perhaps sharing some stanzas might also serve as an explanation, and even an encouragement. Is there anyone else who turns to poetry in order to order their thoughts?

Continue reading “Watchers, we are not Experts in chronic illness”

Am I really a ‘Caregiver’? (and what does that mean?)

“Caregiver.”

For years I never considered that this label belonged to me. It seemed too formal, to restrictive, too…important for what I did to help my chronically ill mum.
Hugs and housework and understanding.

Surely those didn’t deserve such a label?

Yet when my younger sister was diagnosed with a brain tumour and I spent every other day at the hospital and I cared for her in many physical ways from feeding to advocating for her with the pain team, I still didn’t feel this label belonged to me.

But I also felt that I needed the help a label brings.

Without a label I did not have the words to share my story.

READ MORE….

am I really a caregiver 2 #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

(today I’m posting over at Chronic-Joy.org).

am I really a caregiver 2 #chronicillness #suffering #loneliness #caregiver #pain #caregiving #spoonie #faith #God #Hope

PS: Enjoyed the post above? Get the next one delivered straight to you! Sign up for email notifications  

I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter! Meet me there for more interesting reads, resources and community.

We cannot be everything (We are Watchers, not…Master List)

This is a blog about ‘Watching’. That is, loving suffering people while not suffering yourself.
But what does that look like? It can (and does!) look like many things, but sometimes it’s helpful to look at what we are not.

Master List: Watchers, we are not…

Watchers, we are not… Doctors

We just want them cured – is that so wrong?

is it wrong to want your loved one cured www.calledtowatch.com #caregiver #struggle #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching #prayer

Watchers, we are not… Biographers

If only we could decipher the ‘meaning’ behind their suffering!

How to write about chronic illness www.calledtowatch.com #holidays #reading #amreading #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching

Watchers, we are not… Saints

Of course we’re fine, after all, we’ve got this!

Are you always fine Watchers, we are not saints www.calledtowatch.com #caregiver #struggle #chronicillness #writer #hope #chronic #faith #watching #prayer

Continue reading “We cannot be everything (We are Watchers, not…Master List)”

You cannot do it all (but what if you want to?)

When I think of ambition, I see someone fighting tooth and nail to get to the top of their career ladder
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

When I think of ambition, I imagine an athlete, struggling to stay ahead of their peers, striving for Olympic gold
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

 

When I think of ambition, I picture a work-a-holic father, shutting out his family and surviving on toast and beans in his desire for success
… and to be honest, that’s not me.

 

And yet, I’ve come to realise over the years that ambition can take different forms. Or perhaps what I am about to describe is not ambition exactly – and yet ambition is the best word I’ve found so far to describe it.

 

Ambition says, “I can do it all”.

What makes Ambition wrong?
What makes Ambition right?
Am I being called to give Ambition up? Am I okay with that?
 

And how can our ambition get in the way of our love for others and our calling to Watch?

Today this post is hosted over at my personal blog.
Read more about my thoughts and personal struggles with Ambition here. 
 

PS: Enjoyed the post above? Get the next one delivered straight to you! Sign up for email notifications  

I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter! Meet me there for more interesting reads, resources and community.

 

LTCI 4: Why Illness is not everything

I recently went to a conference where I met a lot of new people.
Which (necessarily) led to lot of introductions – and because this was a writing conference, it also led to a lot of answering the question: what do you write?

Which in turn led to explaining about this blog, and after that, about my Loved Ones – namely, my mum and my sister. After the first five times I got my ‘blurb’ down pat:

“I write a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses, as my Mum has multiple diseases including pernicious anaemia and type 1 diabetes (with all its associated problems) and my sister had a brain tumour and now her body does not produce any hormones.”

It was a ‘neat’ answer, but after offering it a couple more times I found myself growing increasingly uncomfortable. I found it difficult to repeat, to the point where I had to practically force myself to say it and felt like I was rushing to get it over and done with.
Why?

Continue reading “LTCI 4: Why Illness is not everything”

Is it always right to ‘bear’ someone else’s ‘burden’?

Is there anyone in your life who is dependent on you?

Sooner or later most of us want to sit down and plan our future, or at least make a “five-year plan”. Yet if you are a caregiver, this can be difficult.

The Bible tells us to “bear each other’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2) – But, when those burdens interfere with your personal goals, are you allowed to set them aside?

Is it possible to love your sick family member, and at the same time plan a future for yourself?

Why is it more difficult to plan for the future as a caregiver?

Planning for the future is hard for everyone. Whether you have too many possibilities or not enough, it’s difficult to figure out what something we have never experienced will look like.

Most of us have dreams we’d like to see become reality, or at the very least we dream that one day we will have dreams.

Considering our future in the presence of chronic illness is even harder. Illness is unpredictable. We can’t say how long our family member will need us, or how soon they will take a turn for the better or the worse.

We need to be realistic, but also hopeful.

Loving someone who is ill or aging means that whatever decisions you make, you are making them for two. That is a lot of responsibility, and there is a huge pressure to ‘choose right’.

Today I am posting somewhere different: Read more about bearing burdens are caregivers here!

 

PS: Enjoyed the post above? Get the next one delivered straight to you! Sign up for email notifications  

I’m also on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter! Meet me there for more interesting reads, resources and community.

What I’ve been reading April 2018 (and what you’ve been reading too!)

April is done and dusted. What did you get up to? I read several interesting posts – on topics ranging from the difficulty of waiting, what to do when you are not healthy enough to read the Bible, and the unexpected blessings of a mangled toenail!

Let me know what you think!

Why do we have to wait?

Who doesn’t like to receive answers or healing straight away? Yet so often we are forced to wait. And waiting is hard. This post reminded me:

  • That a period of ‘waiting’ doesn’t have to be wasted time!
  • God has a purpose when he calls us to wait
  • Distraction from hardship isn’t always the answer

https://www.biblicalcounselingcenter.org/why-do-we-have-to-wait/ Continue reading “What I’ve been reading April 2018 (and what you’ve been reading too!)”

What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)

How often have you stood ‘in the place’ of your ill Loved One?
Maybe you’ve attended an event,
answered a question,
or formed a relationship,
which they simply could not.

Delegates are people who represent someone else to a community. They go forth in their place and explain the other person’s views, character and position.

Sometimes it’s easier to see ourselves, not as Watchers of our Loved One, but as their delegate to the outside world.
Continue reading “What if they don’t understand? (Watchers we are not delegates!)”

LTCI 3: How to balance skepticism with love

Hello, my name’s Emily and I’m a Skeptic.
If this sounds like a therapy group meeting, you’ll soon understand why.
But first, take a moment. Could this ‘greeting’ be applied to you?

If you’ve spent any length of time wandering around the Interwebs (Hello, Pinterest!) you know that there is no end to the suggestions, prescriptions or affirmations for people with Chronic Illness.

And I have a big admission to make.

From someone who doesn’t have a chronic illness, I sometimes find these a bit odd.

3 postures to help with X disease.”
or
“The scent that will bring you peace even as you face X”
or even,
“Exercises you can do even if you have X”

At first I dismissed any such posts as ‘unnecessary’ – but now I try and approach them with humility. Why the change?

Continue reading “LTCI 3: How to balance skepticism with love”

Talking about suffering: When we miss our chance to have the conversation

I know I should talk about it,
I want to talk about it,
I planned to talk about it,
I prepared to talk about it…
But I missed my chance.
Am I a failure?

When we miss our chance to talk about illness

Why is there suffering? My friend asks. Does God care?

I open my mouth – but don’t reply.

Perhaps I was afraid. Perhaps I couldn’t find the words in time. Perhaps someone interrupts, or I misjudge the situation and think it would be best not to respond.

Has this ever been you?
If so, you know about the disappointment and guilt, when you later realise that you’ve missed your chance to speak truth with love.

Continue reading “Talking about suffering: When we miss our chance to have the conversation”