The Exclamation Point of Care Giving


Welcome to my blog, The Care Givers Ride. In my first post, I shared, as a child I wrote in my diary, then as a young adult I filled the pages of decorative journals. All those adventures and emotions are now trashed. However, one batch of my scribbles remain, my book, The Unbreakable Cord, my account of my daughter’s car accident. At the time, the events were overwhelming, I isolated myself from my feelings and emotions. Using a stuffed dog, Woody, as my voice, I began journaling. I channeled all my fear through him. Writing my first book was like my years of caregiving— overwhelming.  It took fifteen years to complete my book. Someone told me, “You best do it as a fiction, no one will believe that many things can happen to one family.”

Different genres fill the writing field and the same is with caregiving. The dictionary describes genre, “a category of artistic composition.” That is us care givers, artistic composition. We adapt, we paint new pictures, we create. We become the noun and the verb in our loved one’s world. To the world, it looks like a fiction movie, but to us we know it is real.

I am using punctuate, to ride through the caregiver’s heart, my ride as a caregiver ended in 2014 but the memories continue stirring within.

Punctuation tells the reader, when to speed up, slow down, when to stop and even what to expect coming. My last post reflected on the question mark. We all question ourselves and one common question runs through us all, “ Why me?”

Today is the Exclamation Point. Definition of the exclamation point, “Used to show a forceful way of speaking or a strong feeling.” It can show urgency, anger, surprise, distress, excitement, intensity, loud noises and even strong commands.

In one of my writing critique classes the instructor said we could only use one exclamation point per project. Wow, only one I thought. I wanted to end every sentence with an exclamation point.

It was the same when I became the caregiver of my disabled brother. I wanted to use the exclamation point at every turn, “This can’t be happening to me! I don’t have time for this right now! It’s not fair! I can’t handle anymore. I can’t do this!”

However, I soon I realized the exclamation point was a way of life, and I needed to restructure my life and accept my new norm. I needed to reserve my one exclamation mark for when I really needed it.

At the time of my daughter’s car accident, my aging mother and disabled brother lived with me. The events of her car accident were more than I could handle. Journaling through the eyes of the stuffed dog, Woody, was my voice to deal with my inner questions and fears, the unknows, the daily exclamations points.

With all the exclamation points of caregiving, I encourage each of you to express your inner exclamation points. Use your appointment calendar. Note little punctuation in the date squares. For example, use a colon to note a routine follow up, question mark—why more test. Use the emotion icons to express your feeling for that day. Maybe write in the comment section of this blog how you feel, sometime one word can say it all. Mine was often, “ENOUGH.”

Then when you have a spare second expand on it. Journaling is a rough draft, remember it is for your eyes only. For the list makers, use bulletin points to get the information out of your head onto paper. As funny as it sounds, writing does help, don’t worry about punctuations or spelling, just write from the heart. Next week, the comma, I wish I understood all those rules.




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