Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who supports the support?

In two short weeks I'll be going solo.

My aunt, a school teacher, will be losing her leave-of-absence and has to return to work to keep her health insurance and benefits.

That means I'll be helping my uncle all on my own!

Getting blood-work at the clinic, his weekly shots, chemotherapy treatments, changing colostomy supplies, documenting all the medications and appointments.

In the past it would be my aunt, uncle, and I with my aunt keeping track of EVERYTHING. I was the back-up support....assisting as needed. Now I'll be taking on the lead role.

A birthday card for my aunt last week from one of her 3rd grade students

And I wonder....who supports the support? Who's going to help ME when my aunt goes back to work? What if I can't handle all of it by myself?

When discussing this about a month ago, my aunt said, "We'll have to work out a schedule. One that your mental health can stand."

I almost laughed when she said that but realized she was serious.

I guess the wear and tear of it all has gotten to me....apparently it shows. I was already depressed and felt slammed by life before any of this happened. Add this to the mix and that leaves me worried.

One of my biggest triggers is being boxed in, trapped, or being forced into something. And yet I am choosing to help.

After all, helping is about sacrifice. Sacrifice is about giving to others....even at your own expense. It no longer matters what I want. It just needs to get done. Simple as that.

I'll be spending much more time at their house too, almost every day, because my aunt feels more comfortable knowing someone is with him. That'll eat into my time to draw and paint. I'll have to find a way around that. Maybe bring art supplies with me or something.

Once school is out my aunt will be off for summer vacation and things will be back to normal. But that'll be eight weeks away!

All I can do now is dig deep and pray to God that I don't get burned out or overwhelmed once the transition starts.


Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

you can do it- It will be natural to step up to the plate once you really have to do it. You should really try to not stress out about the 'what ifs' for the next two weeks- That sounds exhausting.

David K Small, artist said...

You have it within you to accomplish much more than you realize. You are not putting your life on hold, this is part of it. I feel you will be blessed for your sacrifice... perhaps even see it is not that at all.

Eduardo Guize said...

often, when it comes to help others, we're stronger than when we try to help ourselves.

Bring your art supplies. You'll be OK.

sMacThoughts said...

Staying organized and having a 'system' is going to do a lot to help stave off feeling overwhelmed by this task. It is so honorable that you are doing this. Definitely bring some art suppllies, at the very least a moleskine; it will keep you sane!!

Dean Grey said...

Lady Ren!

I'll try not to stress out about it!



I'm not putting my life on hold but rather this is part of life! I like that notion, David!



I agree with you!



I'm going to stay as organized as possible and will bring a sketchpad (or two) with me!


Everyone's input on this is greatly appreciated!


Anonymous said...

This I understand. I was the sole caregiver for my mum the last 2yrs of her is stressful but also are a gentle soul with a kind heart, you will be able to do it...just try and take some time for yourself once in a while, even if it is only 5mins at a time...

prayers being sent your way my friend;)

robertga99 said...

Yes, bring your art supplies! Sometimes the thought of all the work ahead weighs more on us than the actual work. Not that it won't be hard, it will! But something takes over in us and we get it done.
Hang in there!
Did you have a nice Birthday?

Manon said...

Ya... i agree with one of the comments to bring some supplies with you. Paint, journal.... do what you need to. This is a difficult situation for you but you'll get through it!!

Randuwa said...

Dean, you are investing, and one day you will reap dividends. It's the way love works. Rest in it, accept it as you can as a gift, even when it's really not easy.

Dean Grey said...


I appreciate the prayers!



Bob, it was my aunt's birthday not mine!



I'll do what I need to do!



That is GREAT advice! I think I'll do just that! Create my own little space at their house!



I will try!


Thanks to all of you for the kind words!


RAD said...

Man-- I hear ya....If I was closer I would be a support to your support...Make sure to accept any help that is offered to you K? And yes it sounds like a great time to work on your art and all that stuff you enjoy doing like that.. Hugs

jason said...

ah, just do what you can. I know you can do more than you realize.
I've been in those shoes myself....more than once.

Dean Grey said...


I appreciate the hugs!



I'll do what I can!


It's always a pleasure having you two gentlemen stop by!


naturgesetz said...

I think knowing that it needs to be done makes things easier. You just do what you have to do. The eight weeks will be over before you know it. But it's really a very good thing you are doing — there are people who would find a way to refuse.

I'm joining your prayers that you will not be overwhelmed.

(Sorry for the late comment. I've been busy with getting things ready for Holy Week in my church.)

Dean Grey said...


No need to apologize. I'm just grateful for your words of wisdom whenever they arrive to me!


martha miller said...


What if you turn your time there with your uncle into a documentary of sorts? a series of drawings of him, or photos of him, perhaps, if he'll allow? or a series of interviews? Keep a journal of hoe YOU are feeling each day, too. TURN IT INTO ART, and you may find yourself excited to be there!


Dean Grey said...


I'll have to see about that. You'll note that while I talk openly about my uncle's cancer, I'm also very cautious to protect his privacy too.

That's why I try to focus on the situation from my point-of-view rather than disclose personal info about my aunt and uncle.

So for now I think I'll continue to post "updates" on my blog from time-to-time (much like this one).

I appreciate the idea though and may run with it!


Unknown said...

I know your uncle passed away so this comment may seem a bit off. I simply want to say that I know how hard it is, physically and emotionally, to be a caregiver. I think I have said it before but I will say it again: You are a very kind soul.

Dean Grey said...


Being a caregiver can be very draining at times, both physically and emotionally.

Looking back, I don't know how the three of us did it (my uncle, aunt, and myself).