Since 2020, I’ve been hoping for better times ahead. Haven’t we all? But for me, 2021-2022 have been anything but good times. When my grandmother went to the hospital in October, I never imagined the long and painful road ahead of us, or the range of emotions that would consume us both. I thought it would be a mere blip, and then life would resume as normal. But 312 days of intense caregiving later, I’ve learned that life will never be the same again.
So, how do you find peace when life gives you situations you can’t fix? I’ve been wrestling with this question daily. Often, I’m frustrated with the lack of answers. Sometimes, it’s not even peace I’m seeking, it’s just the absence of guilt that I would like to feel. But as I’ve grappled with various emotions and asked many questions of myself and the Universe, the only consistency is the uncertainty.
Sadly, we can’t always plan for the future. We can’t control the weather, the political climate, or the passing of a loved one. We don’t have all the answers, and we aren’t always in control of the outcomes. Being comfortable with that truth can be a difficult pill to swallow.
I’ve experienced a range of emotions over these past many months. Everything from sadness to anger, with many others in between. But I often get stuck in the guilt phase. While some may say guilt is a useless emotion, it’s also a difficult one to combat. As a caregiver, there is something to feel guilty about every day.
This experience has taught me that peace comes in many forms. Most days, I find peace by taking a walk at the beach. On other days, it’s getting lost in a cardio workout or a quiet meditation. But those happy feelings from endorphins don’t often last too long, and then I’m back at square one. Finding peace isn’t just doing something that brings you momentary calmness. It’s reflecting inward and being with your thoughts. I’ve had so many friends (and even staff at the nursing home) tell me what an amazing job I’m doing as a caregiver, and how they are inspired by my dedication and devotion. I don’t do what I do for the praise. I do it because I can’t imagine not doing it for a loved one. But the reality is that I don’t internally believe the words. I always feel like I could have done something better not to have ended up at this point. Sometimes, knowing that you’ve done your best doesn’t feel like you’ve done enough.
These days, I find peace when my grandmother is comfortable, and we can have a few moments together before she drifts off to sleep. I find peace in telling her how much I love her and what a good person she is. And, I find peace in feeling in every fiber of my being what love is.