By Veronica Badowski
Are you finding yourself in the shoes of a reluctant caregiver? As family caregivers, there comes a pivotal moment when we question our capacity to continue on this arduous caregiving journey. Many among us often find these challenges testing our faith.
In my Senior Caregiver support group, I had the privilege of meeting Veronica Badowski, a dedicated caregiver and an author. Curious to delve into her experience, I reached out to Ronnie to share her journey and shed light on why she felt compelled to pen her book–Treading Water with God, Lessons in Love While Care Giving
Prepare yourself for a response that is refreshingly candid and deeply moving.
Imagine you're sailing peacefully in a little boat, the wind playing with your hair, when suddenly, a powerful gust overturns it, plunging it into the depths. There you are, adrift in the vast expanse of a lake, without a life preserver, relying on nothing but your treading efforts to stay afloat. Your only recourse is to beseech for strength and slowly make your way to the shore. This vivid metaphor mirrors the feelings I grappled with during the nine years I cared for my ailing and elderly parents at home.
Let me clarify from the outset that it was solely through God’s unwavering providence and faithfulness that I was able to persevere in this task. His calling for me to be a caregiver was complemented by the provision of a supportive husband, willing to share the burdens of my parents’ care, and a steadfast assistant. The synergy of these two individuals was my lifeline – a triumvirate of support without which this journey would have been insurmountable. Moreover, His divine guidance and wisdom illuminated the path, especially during those critical moments when life-and-death decisions for my parents loomed large.
Despite my deep love for my parents and the presence of ample assistance, tranquility was often elusive. I frequently yearned for an end rather than a continuation. This is where God’s gentle nudges steered me towards adopting a positive outlook and silencing the impulse to complain. Listening to His whispers translated my tasks into deeds performed with a lighter heart and renewed vigor.
The sunlit days of summer brought respite, as my parents and I would gather on our deck, surrounded by the symphony of birdsong and the soothing embrace of soft rock melodies from the radio. Attending church together, relishing ice cream cones post-doctor's appointments, and embarking on visits to family an hour away – these simple joys gave our lives meaning and shared happiness.
During the more trying times, my caregiver's mantra morphed into “God orchestrates all!” Still, there were moments I needed reminders to grasp onto my faith. One instance etched in my memory was a night when I was fraught with distress regarding my mother's care at the hospital. Her severe dementia left her helpless, amplifying my anxiety. In those vulnerable moments, my loving husband's reassuring words, "God will take care of her," were the balm for my soul, lulling me into sleep.
Presently, my parents have journeyed into the arms of the Lord, leaving a void that's acutely felt. Yet, God's tapestry continues to unfurl, weaving me into the role of encouraging caregivers of today. The compulsion to write "Treading Water with God: Lessons in Love While Caregiving" was a guided calling, a vessel through which I share all that I've learned as an unwilling caregiver. If you find the opportunity to peruse my book, I hope it sweeps away your sense of isolation and imparts the knowledge that with God's aid, traversing a similar path is indeed feasible.