Updated: Dec 10, 2018
By R. Frid
Sometimes one gets so caught up in taking care of the patient, they forget the patient.
Now I’m not blaming myself or anyone who has dedicated him or herself to caring for someone ill or incapacitated, whether for pay or not – you are angels, living and functioning on a different level. It is a job that demands dedication and love.
There is so much to do: doctors, treatments, medicines, caregivers and their schedules, finances, endless insurance issues and if that loved one is your spouse, then suddenly your world turns upside down. The running of the house and children become your sole responsibility. Along with this job, comes the realization that you need to have an open dialogue with One Above. This is your greatest comfort though – because the One Above will not leave you alone. You are working for Him.
And with everything on your head, there is one more thing you have to do – make time for yourself. To eat, sleep, exercise, and do something you like – no guilt feelings please. If you get burnt out or sick, G-d forbid, everyone will suffer.
So what is the punch line? What am I trying to say?
That I should have cried more.
With all the above going on, still, I should have cried more.
This summer, for the first time in many years, I became sick – really sick. Yes, I ignored the golden rule that I so pompously preached a few paragraphs ago and ended up in the emergency room. As I was laying there trying to breathe, being pricked for blood, trying to find a comfortable position with the IV in my hand, waiting for the doctor and feeling totally hopeless, I thought about my loved one who has been there many times.
“Is this what he goes through,” I thought in distress. “How does he do it?” He bares it all without a complaint; from where does he draw his strength?
And then I knew…I should have cried more. Sat quietly by his bed and not worry about technicalities, just felt his pain. Just for five minutes.
I guess that until we are in the same position, we don’t fully understand.
Whether we are caregivers, parents, children, neighbors or even employees, we should stop the race occasionally, as hard as it is, and spend a few minutes thinking about the people we know who are going through hard times, shed a tear for them, pray for them and even more, tell them how we admire their fortitude, how they brighten up our day when they smile. Even if you think they won’t understand, something inside them will be moved.
This year I am going to cry more.
May we all be blessed from above.
If you would like to help the Frid family in their ongoing struggle to care for their beloved husband and father Rabbi David Frid, an ALS patient, please click on the following link: https://thechesedfund.com/cause/father-of-8-with-als
Reprinted with permission from The Jewish Press