Photo provided

By Tyra Oldham

Tyra Oldham. Photo provided

The role of a caregiver comes with many challenges. If you are a caregiver, you understand the complexity of caring for someone and caring for their needs while managing your own.

The stages of care start by learning the processes of care and what is required. Next, the caregiver learns how to manage life while managing others. Last, caregivers learn how to face the end of the care and what is required to safely and happily transition their loved ones.

The last stage of care can be overwhelming when sadness and delivering empathetic care to your loved ones. This article was in response to a dear friend of our family who recently lost a son. As they were dealing with their loss, they were responsible for the requirements of the culture to host food while scheduling the going-home arrangements. It made me think of how we share in saying goodbye to family members and how important it is to support them when people are grieving.

The thoughts in caregiving are the cycle of life when parents care for their children and they grow up to care for their parents. This is a nice and global method in the care process of family-to-family-care. Both scenarios are expected, but the loss of a child is never expected even in the reality of sickness. The loss of parents despite their age children understand the impending loss of a parent, even then it can come too soon. The important part of care is to learn how to manage tragedy and loss when caregiving comes to an end.

The important reality of caregiving is it is time limited. The cycle of life in a parent’s caregiving ceases when their children become independent, and a child’s caregiving to a parent will cease at the end of life. The steps supporting the friends and family of those who have lost someone are important to caring for others in tragedy. 

In death, each culture has its celebration and way of saying goodbye. Each has a process to manage the loss with family and friends. This is important when we think a person or family has lost someone special unexpectedly too soon or in their time. No matter the loss is painful.

The opportunity is to create and share care with those experiencing loss. When people are going through grief it is important to provide empathy. 

Empathy is the ability to understand and recognize the feelings of another person. It can be challenging to understand another’s loss without having their own experience. For those who are seeking to support someone going through loss, here are a few suggestions that can make a difference in another’s life.

The role of caring for those in loss:

• Ask what the person suffering a loss needs and provide requests.

• Share the care,  but remember the person grieving is in their loss alone and trying to manage the grief of losing their loved one. Often people on the outside attempting to care can make others pain about themselves.

• Refrain from personalizing another’s pain. Caring embraces another where they are in their stages of grief.

• Remember grief and loss continues past the going home ceremony. Families need support long after the public gathering. Friends and family can continue to support those in the loss by providing what is requested.

• Grief is not on the clock. Grief and sorrow last as long as the person moves past the loss to acceptance. (Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D.)

• When communicating with someone experiencing grief, stay present and allow the person in bereavement to set the tone of the conversation. Empathy allows for caring while being present to the needs of others.

It is important to remember those who are caregivers are committed to caring for one another over time. The time they give can be unselfish, requiring an emotional, physical and personal bond along with a commitment to give.

When a caregiver loses a family member, it can be emotional. The role of others is to become a caregiver to those at loss and be the empathetic solution to those grieving.

Caregivers need care as well, even after they cease to give care to others. 

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