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The Caregiver

 

by Kevin Dunn

Suffering. When we witness or endure it, we seek to alleviate or remove it. Parents and caregivers of eating disordered loved ones know this primal urge intimately. And along the path to hopeful eradication, we bear witness to events, behaviors, and thoughts that tear at the fiber of our being…altering our perspective.

My perspective has been altered. As our daughter dwelled in a cauldron of suffering, we grasped at learning, lifesaving, regretting, hoping, cursing…and, eventually, found creating. Creating a solid caregiving team. Creating an environment to support recovery. Creating the next meal…and the next…and the next, and re-creating ourselves to call upon strengths, shore up weaknesses, develop new capabilities.

Amidst the tasks related to creating a “new normal” and alleviating suffering, I found caregiving. Geographically, for those unfamiliar, caregiving is located in the same vicinity as parenting, but you’ll know the difference when you arrive. It’s a place not quite familiar, with vast open spaces to navigate, and narrow passageways devoid of light. For me, caregiving is a space in need of re-creation.

So, I made a quick study of the contents of our daughters’ cauldron of suffering…a stew of experiences, thoughts, misinformation, and bullying, and reviewed where we’d been since the onset of illness…and then went to work on creating a map, a light source, and a guide for this place called caregiving:  a figurative visitor’s guide of what to do when you arrive, points of interest along the path, and memories to make while you are in town…fully aware few will want to stay a caregiver (or dwell in caregiving) any longer than they absolutely have to.

This initial music video project is a conversation starter…honoring caregivers for their love, strength, and perseverance. It’s the first installment in a series intent on re-creating the way we think about caregiving. Ambitious, yes. But caregivers deserve nothing less.

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8 Comments

  1. KAZ

    Beautiful ❤️
    Thank you so much
    I needed this today
    Never give up no matter how hard it is our kids need us and really do appreciate all we do for them (even tho they can’t show it at the time but once they are over the worst they do)
    I love my d so much and am so proud of her even tho our journey has been very difficult and we still are not out of the woods coming up 5 years
    But we are all in a much better place
    One day at a time
    x

  2. Kevin

    Kaz,

    Thank you for your kind words. I’m humbled this project touched you. I understand you “are not out of the woods,” but it certainly sounds like you realize the lengthy and arduous journey “through the woods” has led you to multiple clearings in the forest canopy…where you can see the light… and gain sustenance for the path ahead. My best to you, your daughter, and your family.

  3. Kevin

    Kim,

    Thank you kindly for your thoughts and prayers. They are very much appreciated. And your reference to all caregivers is also very appreciated. Many of us may end up as caregivers for a loved one, briefly or for a lengthy period of time. We need strength and understanding on that journey.

  4. R. Nunn

    Thanks for sharing Kevin. It brought me to tears . Your tribute to caregivers speaks volumes . Thoughts and prayers are with your family , as well as all caregivers and their families . We must all remain steadfast and strong as we navigate our way through life and beat this horrendous disease . Giving up is not an option .

    • Kevin

      Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We remain on the path and, as caregivers, are beacons to those seeking strength. When “giving” up or “giving” in are contemplated, we must remember these words do indeed point toward the action of “giving,” but they direct our energy toward nothing and no one in particular. Our actions and thoughts, as caregivers, are directed toward beings…and, as you write, “we must all remain steadfast.” Prayers to you.

  5. Kevin

    Deedee,

    Thank you for your kind words. It is a beautiful journey of discovery and love…not always pleasant and not without pain. It is truly life lived large…in all its agonizing and joyful ways. Though we wish it away, or that it had never arrived in the first place, as caregivers we face the journey head on…and are filled with strength beyond words for having done so.

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