As a Carer you’ll watch me do things and instantly judge me for them, you’ll look down your nose and see me as nothing more than someone who deals with other people’s body fluids and makes cups of tea.
You’ll wonder why I can walk out of a room and instantly into another, forgetting that I may have promised your relative a blanket or a cup of water because I was “distracted” by someone else.
You’ll wonder why I’ve walked past your relatives room and not entered theirs, you’ll wonder why some people are attended to sooner and you’ll curse my name under your breath as they wait.
You’ll wonder how I seem to have time to sit down and write and wonder why I cannot fix things immediately.
You’ll wonder how, under any circumstance, I could be sharing a smile or a laugh with a co-worker as if laughter has no place.
As I walk in for my shift, you’ll look at me, your eyes saying that you want me to help and you’ll wonder why I can’t just make that happen.
But here’s what, if you’re very lucky, you’ll never see.
You’ll never see me lose. You’ll never see me take off my sweaty gloves and say a goodbye to someone I’ve cared for for months or even years
You’ll never see the weight that we carry home. For minutes or hours, days, or weeks, or even lifetimes.
You’ll never see our children’s faces as we kiss them goodbye on Christmas morning so that we can make it a special day for your family member.
You’ll never see the deep breath we take as we walk into a room to prepare a loved one before family enter to say their last goodbye.
You’ll never see our hearts ache with the pain for those we have nursed and passed and those that continue to battle.
You’ll never see our minds as they tirelessly over think and overwork scenarios, wondering how or if we could do something better next time.
You’ll never see us break the news that someone’s husband or wife, that they have been married to for 50 plus years has died because they have forgotten again, you’ll never see us comfort them as they cry.
And for the most part, I’m okay that you can’t see those things. It’s my job to do, my burden to carry, and my labor of love and service so that you don’t have to, so that the relationship you have remains as it always has been, so that you don’t have to become their Carer. I’ll take on that role for you.
However, I’ll be honest, there are times that I wish you could understand the alternative to your relative that’s waiting. There are times I wish you understood the difference between urgency and emergency. And there are certainly times that I wish I could be transparent enough to tell you when your relative dies it breaks our hearts too.
If you know, or love a Carer please do me a favor and just give them a hug. Or maybe a fist bump if hugging isn’t their thing, or maybe even just a nod of approval but more anything please remember we’re more than just bottom cleaners and tea makers.
We’re working as hard and as fast as we can, and most days, it’s never enough.”