Most have a basic appreciation of “caretakers”. Heck, maybe even a degree of admiration. Often people have difficulty articulating their feelings and express it by using one or another of a few clichés. The most cited is something along the line of “its the caretaker that is the most forgotten”.
Yes, this sentiment is probably true enough. Someday I’ll need to test this theory, but I suppose it doesn’t matter when it gets right down to it. Honestly, I’ve never even thought of it, no matter how many times I hear it. Quite simply, I just appreciate that you feel this way.
I only care that Ryan is not forgotten. I have more pressing concerns than being forgotten, for sure. It simply doesn’t rise to the level of, say, sleep-deprivation or chronic stress.
I can only speak for myself, but I’d bet those who share my long-term care scenario have what I simply call “Caregiver Anguish Syndrome”. It’s a bit like “survivor’s guilt” only in the sense that we are not the person fighting to persist. Unlike survivor’s guilt, however, we did not survive an experience that another was seemingly randomly taken… where it could have just as easily been us.
In fact, survivor’s guilt is less than of what I speak. It’s merely a component of caregiver’s anguish.
Perhaps the best way I can explain is through a (recent) personal example.
You see, I’m feeling guilty as hell for wanting to buy a new television. I feel this way even though the old one is temperamental… only showing the top half of the screen until I turn it off for a while to cool down… and it’s well over a decade old… and it makes the room hot as unholy hell… and the audio has an annoying background clicking.
There was a time when I wouldn’t have thought twice about replacing it. I’d have done it at least two years ago. Instead, caregiver’s guilt gave me every reason — real or not — to not allow myself to do it.
Now, you see, when I think of doing something — anything — for myself I get extremely nervous. Like I already did something I shouldn’t, despite knowing full well I went to great lengths to assure I didn’t. If I were to actually do something — and I have on occasion — the second-guessing and feeling of misgiving is overwhelming. It’s the same damned feeling as waking up the morning after going on a bender. A nervousness. Like I did something wrong or embarrassing the night before, even though I’m certain I behaved.
You understand what I’m saying, right?
For those reasons, I’m compelled to go to great lengths to try to make it “right”… when no wrong occurred.
Now, time to get a new television…