One of the challenges we are facing at David’s Refuge is getting people to actually sign up and make a reservation to stay at the Refuge. When we explain to parents or guardians of special needs children who we are and how we will care for them I almost always see this longing in their face for the respite and refreshment they would receive as guests at David’s Refuge. Yet for some reason Moms and Dads can see the value of other parents coming but they don’t see it for themselves.
As I was pondering this I read an interview by Guadalupe Palos, R.N., L.M.S.W., Dr.P.H., an assistant professor in at the Anderson Cancer Center, Department of Symptom Research, which shed some light on the possible reason parents are struggling to care for themselves by taking a little respite. Listen to her response to the questions, “What challenges do caregivers face?” Pay especially close attention to the first two challenges she lists.
The most common challenges facing caregivers are (1) feeling guilty about taking time for themselves; (2) being hesitant to ask for help and not wanting to bother anyone; (3) accepting the fact that they will not be able to “fix the pain” forever; (4) realizing chronic pain is an experience that fluctuates from day to day; and, (5) honoring the patient as an independent person whose decisions may not always meet their expectations. And, of course, there are other complex challenges, such as financial worries and the long-term effects on their personal mental and physical health.
Guilt and a sense of being a bother to others stop people from stepping out and asking for and receiving the help they so desperately need. I also think the challenges of being a caretaker, fueled by this sense of guilt and unwillingness to ask for help, cause caregivers to begin entertaining deep in their souls the belief that what they are doing isn’t really all that important, that what they do really doesn’t matter. This of course is a BIG FAT LIE!
At David’s Refuge we want to remind you that what you do as a caretaker of your children is a “divine” calling and there is no more important role you could play. I hope when you hear in your head, “It is unloving and uncaring to take a few days off,” that you will immediately scream out loud, “THAT’S A LIE!” When you speak the words in your head, “I don’t want to bother anyone with my struggles,” that you will immediately scream out loud, “THAT’S STINKING THINKING!” And when you begin to entertain the thought, “What I’m doing doesn’t really matter,” You will scream out loud, “THAT’S A LIE!”
If you know of a parent who would benefit from coming to the Refuge gently encourage them to take the step and sign up for a stay at the refuge. Send them to our application. When they leave they will know that they are not alone, that what they do really matters, and that they are loved by God.