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.