“We’re all holding hands as we guide each other along the endless road of uncertainty. We share our personal experiences through the bumps, our tried and tested methods of dealing with roadblocks, and vent our frustration at the path we simply cannot change. But having a community gives us a sense of comfort. Knowing someone, who has walked in those shoes, and is now helping us along.”
By Jaclyn Tan
Sometimes, the support from friends is simply not enough to fill the need at being understood. Even if they go out of their way to lighten our responsibilities or alleviate stress, we may still feel like we’re on this journey alone. But, don’t get us wrong, we’re not ungrateful for the support they are passing through, in fact, we’re full on appreciative of them because any form of support at all helps push us a little bit more.
Yet, even if pouring out our raw emotions takes some weight off our minds, and the phrase “I’ll be there for you” summons some comfort, deep down, we know that they don’t fully understand what we are going through. We find ourselves alone, facing difficulties they may never face. It’s not their fault; it’s difficult to fit perfectly in our shoes.
Ever since joining a community, whether through online groups, or at regular meet-ups, I have found a space of comfort. There is always someone, or a group of caregivers, who understood what I was going through; the real pains of a caregiver that is hardly ever revealed to the world. A community that has dealt with a similar situation, evoked the same emotions, and are facing (or faced) the same uncertainty. One that understands what it’s like to walk in my shoes.
Even if there may be no concrete solutions to the problem, just knowing that there is someone who shares the pains and joys may be enough for me. I am not taking comfort in their predicament, neither is it a means for me to compare who has it better. Rather, it’s taking comfort in knowing that we are a bunch of individuals on this journey together.
We’re all holding hands as we guide each other along the endless road of uncertainty. We share our personal experiences through the bumps, our tried and tested methods of dealing with roadblocks, and vent our frustration at the path we simply cannot change. This gives us a sense of comfort – someone, who has walked in those shoes, is now helping us along.
Yet caregiving is not just about the difficulties faced. It’s also about sharing the little joys in life. Posts shared by others as they watch their loved ones paint or play in the snow subtly remind us that all our efforts are not futile. Though some of our loved ones may not express their gratitude, simply watching them laugh and make merry warms our hearts. It is enough.
The benefits don’t just stop at the emotional level. Caregiving communities act as a platform for us to gather more information and plan for the future. Be it solving problems collectively or explaining the nitty gritties of paperwork, these may help ease our stress and give us confidence to tackle the roadblocks. After all, knowledge is power.