Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 10 of the Virtual Blog Tour of the new 2nd-time author Carolyn A. Brent whose book The Caregiver’s Companion: Caring for Your Loved One Medically, Financially and Emotionally While Caring for Yourself is celebrating its big Amazon launch NOW!!!
Carolyn A. Brent is a nationally acclaimed author, speaker and caregiver advocate. She has dedicated her life to preparing caregivers and their loved ones to face end-of-life issues. Carolyn is the founder of Caregiver Story, a non-profit organization that provides free medical, legal and wellness resources to the public.
Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Carolyn when I got to ask her on the subject of spirituality and caregiving support. I hope you enjoy it.
Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund: What are some of the spiritual issues that come up for caregivers when they are caring for their loved ones?
Carolyn A. Brent: Spiritual Abandonment to simply put it—during and after caregiving.
Since 2009 I have been conducting extensive research on this topic and others related to family caregiving, including interviewing more than fifteen hundred caregivers across the globe. I was astonished by the number of caregivers who shared the same feelings of “Spiritual Abandonment” as I did.
After twelve years of being the sole caregiver for my father, after he had an unexpected life-threatening emergency in 2007, suddenly my siblings wanted to get involved with his care. My siblings used the emergency as a means to take over my father’s care and thus his bank accounts, filed bogus restraining orders against me in three separate jurisdictions simultaneously, claiming I was neglecting and abusing him. Throughout the time I was waiting on court dates regarding the restraining orders, I could not see my father for any reason. If I had made any attempt to see him, I’d risk going to jail. On that day, I clearly felt betrayed by God—my siblings, and spiritually abandoned! I thought, “If God really loved my father (who was a pastor) & me (his caregiver)—why did this happen to us? I was emotionally, physically, and financially traumatized by this whole sad affair.
There are untold numbers of caregivers who have experienced similar devastating situations—something that completely violates our spiritual beliefs.
After researching and getting the help I needed for spiritual healing, I discovered God had a BIGGER plan for my life. Overtime, I experienced my spiritual awakening—I felt like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon as I began transforming to my HIGHER calling. I am now at peace—with the determination of changing laws to protect the rights of caregivers (law-abiding) and their loved ones. With the conclusion of my research on this topic—countless numbers of caregivers believe; “Because of the caregiving journey their life’s now has purpose.”—POWERFUL!
Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund: Where can caregivers and their families go for support when they need it? And/or when they have irrevocable spiritual differences?
Carolyn A. Brent: When caregivers and their families are seeking support, I highly recommend doing your homework first. Look for professionals with the training, expertise and background for your area of concern. Keeping in mind, we live in a world with 15 non-theistic beliefs, ethical groups, philosophies, spiritual paths, etc. And of the religions in the world there are about 40 organized religions and faith groups. There isn’t a quick fix or one size fit all categories. In my case, I interviewed several different professionals with the educational background to address my spiritual understanding. When I found the expert that met my criteria—I immediately felt a spiritual connection. I felt my father’s spirit talking to me through this professional. That’s when I discovered my spiritual awakening.
My father always told me, “Seek and you shall find,” now I understand exactly what he meant. When you find that you and your loved ones are not in agreement, and have irrevocable spiritual differences—it is best not to try changing the other person. We must do our part to find our own peace, joy and happiness. I believe whatever our beliefs are—we must lead our lives as an example for others in order to create change. The following are a few suggestions of where to start:
- Church, Temples, Calgary, Buda, Priest, communities who offers spiritual caregiver support programs, etc.,
National Family Caregiver Support Programs
Search online for the categories that will meet your needs.
Maria Dancing Heart Hoaglund: What are three ways that a caregiver might help himself or herself develop a deeper spiritual life? And what are some ways that they might help the one(s) they’re caring for deepen their spiritual lives?
Carolyn A. Brent:
- Letting go of hurt and pain.
Practice forgiveness—walking in love.
Surround yourself with likeminded people—practice meditation & wellness.
More details are in The Caregiver’s Companion: Chapter 10: Taking Care of Yourself When You Are a Caregiver—Chapter 11: The Caregiver’s Cheat Sheet
I hope you enjoyed this interview with Carolyn A. Brent and that you’ll check out her book on Amazon:
If you like Carolyn’s new book and care about issues of caregiving, you may also be interested in my books – to help with end-of-life care issues:
The Last Adventure of Life and The Most Important Day of Your Life: Are You Ready? (These books are also available at Amazon.)
AND… be sure to follow Carolyn tomorrow when the next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour is Andrew Mondia, who will be interviewing Carolyn on the subject of the joys and overcoming fears of caregiving. To visit that “stop” on the tour, go to this link
To our Health, Wealth, and Graceful Loving and Caregiving, Maria Dancing Heart