Putting yourself on hold and dealing with the unexpected

This post comes from the archives but since I’m dealing with major pain and flu-like symptoms this week, I thought I’d dig it back out. Heck, it’s good enough to re-hash! 

Caring for others most often changes “Life as we know it” and involves putting our life on hold.

Have you ever had one of those weeks like you just haven’t gotten anything accomplished? That “life happens” and you have to put everything else on hold? Maybe you or someone in your family comes down with the flu, or friends or family come to visit or whatever – and it seems you must hit the pause button on your remote of your own life, work and play.

How about a year like that? 12 months of dealing with the unexpected.

I’ve watched a dear friend and business partner of mine over the past year go through this over and over due to family crisis and progressive occurrences of life. To me, she is SUPERWOMAN and yet even still, she has felt the strain, the wear and tear of family dynamics.

First, she was dealing with a step-mom diagnosed with a brain tumor and then cancer. Secondly, her brother-in-law dies suddenly with a heart attach at 58 while he was visiting his mom who was having surgery and she has to fly to two different regions of the US to have two funerals. Thirdly, her little baby pup who she had raised for over fifteen years comes down with congestive heart failure (I didn’t know animals got that) and dies. And yesterday she buried her step-mom who passed away.

How does one cope with these kinds of calamities and the unexpected? How does one continue to work and or/ run their business, their household, their day-to-day obligations?

It’s difficult to say the least. You pray that your partners, your employers, your family will all be understanding and empathetic and allow you time to help others, to grieve yourself and to take time off to just get through it.

These days we hear a lot about flex time where employers are starting to allow their employees to work part-time or full-time at home due to rising gas prices and the current economic situation – but are employers considering family crisis and caregiving into the equation?

I know that my friend Sue has been blessed to be a business owner and has been afforded the opportunity to take the time off needed to deal with these situations. Even then it can take its toll on you. Even to someone who has written two books on caregiving and aging and how to deal with difficult situations and grief. Even the experts find themselves in crisis and have to walk through the difficulties and remain some kind of sanity.

When I was in life safety sales (fire alarm sales and design) we talked a lot about being prepared. Having a plan of action and even an escape route in case of emergency, in case of a fire. But what kind of road-map are we putting together for unexpected occurrences in life?

The question is not if we are going to have to deal with situations such as these, it’s simply a matter of when. The more proactive we are in setting up an emergency plan the better we will be able to cope.

Is it even realistic to think we can prepare ourselves for these types of things or is it something we must deal with as it comes.

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
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