Some people are inclined to play their cards very close to the vest, especially when the things we need to say are not happy talk. "Don't talk about that, people will judge you!" Many in my situation would never speak. And I know it's a potentially dangerous thing to speak, but I cannot be silent. I will not. There are things happening here that could have been avoided if we had talked more, so I'm talking more. Let the next generation or the next family be better informed than we were. Moveover, there are feelings that folk need to understand are not bad. They're just feelings. Is it my responsibility to talk? No, but I'm doing it all the same.
There are risks and rewards here.
The greatest risk of speaking my truth is judgement. Remember, there's a part of me that's still looking for a job. Anyone who Googles me might come across my blog about caregiving and my challenges and pains with it. That person could then decide "Nah. I don't want to hire her. She has a complicated life." I accept that. I understand that. I'm not in the least bit uncomfortable about that. Call me nuts, but this is my life. There is nothing I can do about it. Covering my eyes, ears and mouth like the three little monkeys, changes nothing. Whether I speak it or no, the reality remains the same. Trust me on that.
I went to an AARP seminar a little over a year ago. There, they focused on caregiving and caregivers. One of the things that was shared, was the fact that most people mired in the challenges of caregiving don't share that fact. Few friends and coworkers, if any at all, know what caregivers are dealing with. Imagine our surprise then when we were told that when caregivers did share, they found welcoming ears, not judgement. Who woulda thought? Clearly, there is reward for taking the risk.
I expect that some will be made uncomfortable by the things I say. I frequently admit to thinking and feeling things that others might keep to themselves. I get that. At the same time though, it is my sincere hope that others will be uplifted by seeing their own thoughts and feelings reflected here. Others still may gain a level of understanding that they might not otherwise have gained.
If my choices are (i) protect myself from the judgement and disapprobation of others and (ii) uplift and sustain someone else who is on the same journey, please be assured that I'm going to choose option two. That is who I am. The thought, however vain, that I might help someone else, makes the writing both easier and more meaningful. That's the reward and it is priceless.
I write this blog with the primary purpose of informing. The secondary purpose is to purge myself of the thoughts and feelings that the work of caregiving evokes in me. So the 'work' of blogging is part altruism, part enlightened self-interest.
I appreciate the worry that my dear friend expressed today. She is concerned that my writing may have a deleterious effect on my job search. She's right. There will be prospective employers who might judge me as a consequence of the realities of my life, but to be clear, whether I am judged or not, this is my life. Should someone decide against hiring me because this is my life, well, that's how it goes. This is still my life. I am not the first person to enter this pass, nor indeed, will I be the last.
Current numbers indicate that some five million people are currently suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. That means there are at least five million children caregiving at some level. I am but one. There are others like me and some of them are looking for jobs too. This is our life.
On a lighter note......I'd like to point out that any person who can use the word 'deleterious' in a sentence ought not to be summarily discarded as a prospective employee. Deleterious is a big word y'all. So too is 'summarily' and if you read more of my blog entries, you'll come across a few other SAT-type words that I manage to work into conversation...usually correctly too. That's gotta be worth something. I also write pretty good. That too ought to count for something. Alzheimer's Disease and my giving care? Small t'ing (minor issue) as we say in Trinidad.