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Will I Be Up To The Task?

As I prepared for my webinar, Finding Resilience As Our Parents Decline, last week, I reflected on my caregiving journey with my mom over the previous six years. Like most people, my mom’s decline forced me to deal with so many issues—the mix of emotions of grief, frustration, worry, and anxiety as our relationship changed, my lack of knowledge, the need to pivot quickly, financial burdens, and time constraints. Ultimately, though, the real concern for me and anyone in this situation comes down to two questions: 

What will happen? 

Will I be up to the task? 

We have very little control over what will happen as our parents decline. We can try changing their environment, being involved in their care, and working with others who can help, but most of what happens is out of our control. Our parents’ health, personality, choices, available and affordable health care, financial resources, and many other things beyond our control will dictate how their aging plays out. The only thing we have control over is our response to the situation. And therein lies our power.  

Two weeks ago, I talked with a dear friend who had just brought her father home after a massive stroke. As the family sat with their dying father, they were so agitated by his decline. “This is hell,” she told me. “My brothers and I decided we are not doing it this way.” I asked if she was open to using the Centering Skill of Positive Reframing, and she said, “Please!” 

I shared with her another way to look at their situation. “This is not hell. It is heaven. You can share stories, play music, and hold your father’s hand. You can Facetime family members and have them say goodbye to him. Your father’s last few days of life are unbelievably precious.”  Later, my friend said that this Positive Reframing brought such solace to her whole family. Instead of using their limited time with him to freak out about the scary things happening to him and his body, they Centered themselves and focused on the gift of his love in their lives. His dying process was sad and also beautiful.  

Upon reflection, I realized my fear of “Will I be up to the task?” is the underlying question for most worries and anxieties. And though the true answer is “Not always,”  practicing our Resilient Mindsets and Skills provides us with more confidence in knowing we can be, most of the time. 

May your Resilient Skills be strengthened so you are up to the tasks ahead for you. 

With love and resilience, 
Meri and the Dovetail team