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    next stage after caregiving
    renalupie1 posted:
    Hi there. I used to hang around here alot! But it has now been a year and half since Mom died. Don't feel like I am much use to you anymore. Haven't felt like much use to anyone for a long time now! Which is part of the grieving process for the caregiver. We are needed and going going going for such a long time and then poof! The person we are giving so much of ourselves to, passes on, and we are left with a huge gap of time to fill!

    So, I have been taking my Hospice volunteer classes. It has been bitter sweet as the videos we watch are very hard sometimes. But on the flip side, it has helped me heal and I feel I am just about done grieving now thanks to my classes and fellow volunteers. I am really ready to be put to use again and feel this is a great way to help others. My mother was a dialysis patient and I felt like it was a very isolating thing for me and the family. Seemed like no one really understood what we went through with her. I am hearing of more people in my community going on dialysis, so I am hoping to apply what I know and make it easier for someone else.

    What we learn as caregivers should never be wasted. We all should take the time to heal, but we also need to share and keep trying to help others. I feel as caregivers and former caregivers we need to keep sharing what we know and hopefully keep perpetually reinventing the wheel so to speak. To make caregiving an easier and less stressful task.

    So there you go. Please keep taking care of yourself. You cannot be a good caregiver if you don't take care of you!! Take the break you so desperately need once in a while. Use your resources to make the task less daunting. Enjoy your time with this person. They are taken from us way too quickly. You don't realize it until they are gone! And when the time comes, that you no longer have them, think about turning around and sharing what you know with the next person. You will be amazed at the gift of giving gives you back!

    Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Thanks Rena for this reminder and encouragement. I hope you stop by more often to share your wisdom and experience.
    amailia responded:
    HI Rena,

    This is the first time I have been to this group. I just read your post and I can relate to all that you have said. I agree with you that once we have gone through the grieving stage we should reach out to help others cope. Being a caregiver is a gift of love.

    My husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2003. He was being treated for backpain and was hospitalized. His kidneys quit working and he had to moved to a larger hospital by ambulance. They started him on dialysis and that was only the beginning of his journey. He was on high-dose chemo which had side-effects and made him very ill as well. He was approved for a clinical trial and had a stem cell transplant. I even learned how to give him growth hormone injections for his stem cell treatment.

    He went through so much and he was so courageous and I was by his side 24/7. I took care of him until his last nine days of life when he had to be hospitalized with viral pnemonia, which took his life in 2006.

    I had help from palliative care, and the medical doctors were very supportive. Like you say, there is a huge gap in my heart from his loss. However, I want to use what I have learned to help others walk through their journeys of being a caregiver.

    Keep in touch,


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