Whether we’re caregiving as parents or for our elderly parents, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I know I felt overwhelmed at times during both experiences.
There’s this great quote by Judy Arnall, “It takes a village to cherish a parent to nurture a child.” That sounds ideal to me.
Yet sometimes we don’t have a village supporting us, and we give – getting up in the night with a crying baby for the second or third time or going over to sit with our parent through one more desperate moment they’re having – and it takes a toll on us.
I remember many moments of desperation, fear, and anger that my mom experienced in her last years. I would try to support her with empathy.
Several times during those years when I’d given to the point of overwhelm, I asked my brother, who lives farther away and was contributing the best he could, for appreciation.
I might not have spoken up at some point in my life, but luckily I’d practiced Nonviolent Communication enough by then that I knew that my needs, in this case for appreciation, are valid and that making a request to make my life more wonderful is a beautiful thing.
When I’d make my request, my brother would respond with appreciation. He’d also be incredulous that I’d believe him when it was I who initiated the asking for the appreciation rather than him offering it on his own.
I would tell him that I knew that he wouldn’t tell me something that wasn’t true for him.
I was grateful that he and I could speak openly and understand each other and that he could give thanks to me. My tummy and heart would fill up with his appreciation.
How would it be for you to ask for appreciation and to receive the thanks you’re wanting?
In peace and love, Teresa