However; when in the midst of challenges in our lives, the physical and emotional mayhem causes us to function more in reaction to, as opposed to careful analysis of, the situation.
When caring for someone we love there are several factors that come into play when making decision
Our emotional reaction to what is happening to that person
Our personal dynamic with that person
Our perceived role in the life of the person that is ill as well as in the overall family (i.e.: our birth order)
Our understanding of what is happening to them health wise
Understanding what resources are available and how to utilize them
Having worked with family caregivers for over 20 years, written 2 books on the topic, as well as having cared for several family members, I can tell you first-hand that even when a caregiver knows what they are doing and how to access resources, emotional reaction and family dynamics can often overshadow the judgment of even the most knowledgeable of caregiver.
Points to Ponder
You don’t get a “do-over” so dwelling on what you should or could have done is an exercise in futility.
You did the best you could in the face of the overwhelming tasks and factors involved in caring for someone you love.
Guilt is an unnecessary emotion that we “put upon” ourselves once we are on the other side of decisions made. The good news is you have the power to remove the guilt (see Letting Go of Guilt).
Even if you grasp an understanding of these points, human nature triggers us to over analyze and dwell on situations thus inducing guilt over the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s we come up with.
What can we do to stop the madness?
Utilizing the new-found Genius
Analyzing the past can assist us in being pro-active about the future care needs of other family members (see Pro-Active vs Re-Active Caregiving).
Understanding the challenges we faced can benefit others around us who are in the midst of the caregiving chaos by sharing our story and lessons learned from the experience.
Our experience can assist us in being more aware of our reactive tendencies causing more focused and fact based decisions in the future. (see Fear vs. Fact)
Utilizing our experience to assist us in creating a plan for our own future care needs. (see Wrinkles Memory Loss and Erectile Dysfunction)
Most importantly – Keep reminding yourself that you did the best you could, considering what you were up against!
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