Posts Tagged ‘Pet loss’

Caregiver Grief: How Close to the Bull’s Eye Are You?

Sunday, September 25th, 2011
An un-official 80cm FITA archery target

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All About Grief

I talk alot about the term “anticipatory grief,” or the pain associated with a future loss.  Fear, guilt, anxiety, hopelessness and physical symptoms are just some of results of anticipatory grief.  It occurred to me that caregivers, especially primary caregivers, are particularly susceptible to this calamity.  So how bout’ we call a spade a spade?  What we are talking about here is “Caregiver Grief.”

Think about your primary care for your sick or aging pet and carefully consider all the people in your life around you.  I even find it useful to categorize them in groups.  The more loving and supportive people are in closer proximity to you then the less supportive people who I group farther away.

Primary Caregiving

I found I was creating concentric rings, or better yet, a target or bulls eye.  The primary caregiver occupies the center of the bulls eye.  The caregiver sees periodic, and even daily, decline, as the animal grows weaker and more dependent.    Any “delay” of dealing with grief simply isn’t feasible.

Now consider the reaction of each concentric ring moving outward from the bulls eye.  These people live in a luxury the primary caregiver can scarcely comprehend.  These people remember the pet (or even Mom) as a vibrant and healthy being.  These folks have other responsibilities and go about their daily lives free of the stress that the primary caregiver finds on the center ring.  The degree of support, empathy, and actual help provided to the caregiver, results in the actual positioning on the concentric ring target.  For these people, grief will come later, at a passing or thereafter.  Of course, these people have the freedom “not to deal with it” because they don’t have to.  You do.  It’s neither good nor bad, but just the way it is.

Beating the Grief

Creating your own Target chart (even if just in your mind) can be a useful tool.  Many times people have asked me “why doesn’t (insert name) support me more?”  One answer is that each of you are too far removed on the target.

Remember, as primary caregiver, you are the bulls eye, the center ring on the target.  The “bombadiers of life and death” have an uncanny knach for hitting this bulls eye.  This is why the primary caregiver can experience so many negative emotions during the process–while those around the caregiver seem rather immune.  Recognizing Caregiver grief is an important first step to seeking out solutions.

So how close to the Bull’s Eye are you?

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