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Caregiving In Times Of Uncertainty

By Eric Gnezda

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While his transformation was remarkable, it is not unique among those who have battled – or who are battling – serious illness. Three days after I was born, my father was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, so I grew up caregiving. Based upon those experiences and from working with others since, it is clear that the ones we care for often have a wealth of wisdom to share about fundamental priorities and the essence of living. And while their “lessons” have always been available to us, it seems that now, in the midst of our culture having been forever changed by emerging kinds of anxiety and terror, the guidance that patients and loved ones can offer in terms of how to deal with fear and uncertainty has become immediately relevant to us all, not only as caregivers but as citizens at large.

Caregiving teaches us that, however serious a crisis may be, it can be an invitation to grow in our understanding of and our appreciation for our lives, our loves and our values, all of which take on greater meaning in today’s world.

“Redefinition, renaissance and rebirth are the essence of life,” wrote a cancer patient in her journal. “Status quo is not possible. Not even desirable. No one has a safety zone to hide in. Somehow, before all of this, I believed that I did.” Although written about her struggle with a serious disease, these words could have come from any American in the last many months. “In this battle,” she concluded, “we all learn to take each day and cherish it.”

Wise words – for caregivers, and for everyone, these days.

Eric Gnezda is a keynote speaker, songwriter and humorist who presents to corporations, associations and healthcare organizations across the country. His songs, including, Blossoms of Hope, are often featured by cancer, hospice and bereavement groups.

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