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TRANSFORMING POWER OF CAREGIVING (THE): Returning to Life after Caregiving Ends
Whether you have cared for your loved one for one year or many, when it ends, it will feel abrupt. The life and routine that have become yours, suddenly comes to an end with a finality that is painful on many levels. You have become a different person during your caregiving experience, yet you haven’t had time to realize who that person is. Your focus was on someone else, and the thought of shifting that focus to yourself - may be scary. However, exploring who you are, now, as well as what you learned about yourself - and about life itself - during your caregiving experience can be an experience full of discovery and adventure...
1. A New Beginning - there is a natural sense of loss when the need for our caregiving is over. We face the double sorrow of the death of our loved one as well as the ending of our primary purpose and role in life. It is important to acknowledge our grief and complicated feelings.
2. A New Normal Part of the experience of after-caregiving is to find a "new normal". Many factors go into the development of new identity after the death of a loved one. It is okay to feel inadequate, overwhelmed, and to ask for help in facing the unfamiliar.
3. New Life Discoveries - as we walk through the process of rebuilding our lives we find that life may turn out to be completely different, new, even exciting. It is important to give ourselves permission to experience these things and be willing to look toward the future.