By Gina Masero
There are many caregivers, both professional and self-trained, among us. While there are those who have chosen the honorable profession of caregiver, others have fallen into the role with no formal training for the family caregiver, and it’s natural for them to doubt whether what they are doing is enough. A caregiver’s natural inclination is to respond to the needs and demands of their loved ones, and without realizing it, they can neglect or disregard their own needs. Caregivers are like teapots, they continue to fill up others’ cups until their pot is left bone dry. As a result of continuously putting others before themselves, caregivers might become angry, frustrated or resentful. They can become exhausted, depleted and feel underappreciated.
Having fallen unexpectedly into the role of caregiver, I speak from experience. By the age of 24, I was married, had purchased a home and was pregnant with my first child. I felt on top of the world! That same year, my husband and I received the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with advanced stomach cancer. The fear and panic set in fast, and I often pleaded with God, questioning whether I was strong enough to face this. The truth was, I was strong enough, but not strong enough to face it alone. I needed support from others who could empathize and relate. I needed help finding the courage and confidence to speak up and to believe that my needs were important, too. I needed to understand that self-care was essential, not selfish.
My husband fought a brave battle for 12 years, until his passing at the young age of 36. Over the course of those twelve years, I learned many valuable lessons about the importance of faith and opening myself up to the support of others. Over time, I learned the true value of letting go of guilt and resentment, and by doing so I accepted my own needs. I believe that my journey has led me towards my passion of providing support and guidance to fellow caregivers, and ultimately establishing a group connecting them with one another. It’s so important to know that you are not in this alone. “Tough times do not last forever, but tough people do.”
God is in the driver’s seat, and can change the course of our lives if we are open to it. We may feel that God may be slow, but he is never late.
If you are a caregiver, you are invited to attend a Caregivers’ Support Groups at either location:
Holy Family Parish-Youth Hall
4848 Pearl Ave., San Jose
10:15 – 11:45 a.m.
Santa Teresa Parish-Conference Room behind the Parish Office
794 Calero Ave, San Jose
7 – 8:30 p.m.
Open for professional and non-professional caregivers.
For more information, contact Gina Masero at firstname.lastname@example.org.