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Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Fear

Boy, were the early years of caregiving a doozy. Being in a fear-based mindset did not help my transition from a corporate career to a family caregiver. I did not understand Mom’s needs initially or how my body was manifesting illness because the fear created blocked energy in several places. I reached a peak of overwhelming fear when my lower L4-5 disc ruptured during the COVID pandemic. The pain was not the problem because I have a high threshold for pain.

The panic of not being present for Mom’s needs during recovery made me grateful she had just transitioned into a memory care community. Still, I also did not feel entirely trusting of how well the care provided would be without checking in on her throughout the week. The panic and worry were worse, which made the pain more intense.

Helping Mom manage her home after my parents divorced created a challenging routine while I worked outside the home. The family drama gradually drove me up the wall. Everyone had an opinion and a different approach to what they thought Mom needed. The push-pull relationship was nothing like what we experienced as siblings growing up. We were no longer fighting over clothes, friends, or chores. We began fighting over not being heard and seen because each of us had a part that was not ready to see Mom this way.

Thank God for therapy, though, because it took at least five years before I stopped fighting everyone and started looking inward. Feeling overwhelmed with managing schedules and desperately trying to convince myself that everything was just fine was the repetitive story I told myself when my emotional walls were collapsing.

My favorite scripture that kept me focused through 12 years of college for two degrees and a license was Philippians 4:13 - I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

That is until I shifted careers and eventually found myself saying, “I can’t do this anymore.”

Back in the corporate office, I had deadlines that drove me up the wall, but there was a strategic plan in place and a bunch of chocolate chip cookies to fuel the madness. Every month, there was an end in sight with ‘way to go team’ happy endings. That kind of stress was sometimes exciting because I had a team that worked together for a common goal. When I accepted that life would be very different as Mom’s caregiver, finding a routine that worked for both of our needs was hard. We were a team of two for a long time.

Now that she is with Dad in heaven, I still struggle to adjust to yet another routine. The waves of overwhelming grief are different than they were before. The anticipatory grief kept me researching because my Do-er Part had to do something all the time to keep me from feeling the roller coaster of emotions, not like in the corporate world. The corporations I worked for had gyms on-site for employees. I FELT BETTER AFTERWARD when I needed to beat up the treadmill or lift some free weights.

The difference now is not having the desire to do anything. Sitting in the raw emotion of memories and reality is challenging, although in new ways. I write more to stay focused on something positive, both fiction and non-fiction. Yet, nothing feels right, though. Nothing can replace the mental connection of the life force energy with my parents. Since caregiving for Mom proved too much for our family, torn apart, there is no family drama to be distracted by either.

It is a very odd space to experience. Going from wanting to hide to be alone to cry in peace one day and the next wanting to be surrounded by a group to hear other voices is very strange. So, I decided to push into the strangeness and take this overwhelming fear in a different direction to travel. Before Mom passed, I rarely felt comfortable going too far away because of the ‘what-ifs’ fear of something happening when I was gone. This time, I followed the fear to South Dakota for a spiritual retreat.

This trip was the first time since Mom had passed that her final days stopped playing on repeat in my mind. The constant loop of what I could have or should have done differently ceased to take up space in my mind. Instead, the beauty of the landscape, the culture, the artwork, spiritual conversations, and the breathtaking Blue Supermoon gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy and gratitude from the overall experience.

I reclaimed my power during this trip, which helped me to refocus on my passion mission of creating more Proactive Caregivers and regulations on how others care for those living with Dementia in assisted living communities.

Hearing tales of how Native Americans endured horrific tragedies reminded me of my identity, the Imago Dei. The God-given authority to one who liberates others through the release of breath. I am a speaker, podcaster, consultant, mentor, teacher, and friend. I am not alone in this journey, even if I sometimes feel lonely. Although my story is not horrific, there is deliberate, transformational power in the experience. Life goes on, and more adventures will take place that steer my journey with more lessons.

The overwhelming stages of loss and grief are painful, which makes it hard to recognize the lessons. My grief is not gone, but reclaiming my power has reduced it to sadness. I no longer feel like my world is ending because I know my parents are with me in spirit. They strengthen my heart and will continue to guide, protect, and love me from afar. Even in their death, I learn from them as the Spirit reminds me of precious moments to show me a different perspective.

We often miss the lessons intended for us to learn from because we want the pain to go away as quickly as possible. Through the pain, we are seasoned and strengthened for the next level in life.

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