Caring Giving from a Distance
Bob and Wanda Johnson
April 12, 2015
In each of our families were seven siblings. Counting our parents, we have experienced the loss of 12 deaths. Just recently Wanda lost a sister in her eighties. Three years ago my ninety year old brother died. These are the two family members that we had the most involvement in their end of life care. The distances between us and them were 900 and 320 miles.
Obviously we don’t know what it is like to provide constant care like so many have to do. Our task was both easier and in some ways harder. Our commuting several times a year for a number of years was expensive, but a cost neither of us regretted or had second thoughts about. Wanda took more of an advocate role in her sister’s case. Mine was more of a presence role, supplementing the work of the regular care givers.
That was the easier part relative to the constant care giver. The harder part was being separated by distance for most of their end of life time. But in that all we tried to be guided by some reminders which we want to pass along to you today. They are:
Remember that physical life as we know it has its limits. Be straightforward about this.
Celebrate their past and move on to the renewal of the inner person as Paul spoke of it in II Corinthians 5.
Remember to do what you think will cause you the least regrets. This is for you and those who remain in this reality. What is it that you hope you never have to qualify by saying, “I wish had done that”?
Remember that appropriate humor is ok. Laughter may be the most healing thing at some point. My brother, James, said near the end of his earthly life that he just wanted to go on and see if “you” preachers have been telling me the truth about heaven. I then requested that when he got there, if he could to let me know the verdict.
Remember that as a Christian you have allies. For example, the Spirit will help you speak. The Spirit will also help you to know when words aren’t called for.
Remember to work with the professional caregivers. Most truly care also! In both our cases those wonderful people wept over the passing of our dear ones. Listen to them. They can tell you things that will help you in relating to those for whom you are privileged to care.
Written by Bob