Caring for a loved one can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be emotionally and physically exhausting. Carers often put the needs of their family members before their own, sacrificing their time and energy to provide the necessary care. This selfless act can come with its own set of struggles as carers face physical fatigue and emotional stress while trying to balance a demanding job with providing care. We must recognize the hard work and dedication of these individuals who dedicate themselves to caring for loved ones in need.
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So let's talk about carers, but before I go there, I need to tell you why. By now, you know I grew up in a big big big family. Growing up we were taught cousins are just brothers and sisters born to aunts and uncles. We knew everyone in the village, and people were always in and out of each other's houses. I have childhood friends, girlhood friends, school friends, nursing friends, and work friends. Church friends and kids friends, parent friends.
In short no shortage of people in my life. When I first left home and went to mainland of India, I was surrounded by a few 100s of people all the time, I did a hospital-based nursing course and lived in a hostel with a few 100 girls. There was no escape. But I was lonely, so very lonely. Strangers surrounded me. They were not my people. Faces were different, voices were different, and culture was different. Life was different. Even my sister being there with me was no consolation for me.
5 yrs on I wept bitterly, leaving this hospital and hostel. Strangers had become friends; some even took us to their homes, and the families welcomed us with warmth, love, and food. I love food. Then I came to Australia, and the whole process started again. But this time, the difference was stark. This time there were not many people. There was no community. People were not in each other’s lives as I knew, and I felt so alone.
19 yrs, now Australia is home, and family and friends surround me. But you see, in hard, trying times, I miss my parents and aunts and uncles. Who have been my caretakers and well-wishers who made personal sacrifices and always said a word of prayer? At any given time, a round table conference is going on in my head. In any given scenario, I know exactly what someone will say and the motivation behind it.
But I have learned just because one has families does not mean they have a bond. People can be rich in money and poor in love. Love, a social or moral obligation, is no longer enough for people to stay and care for. Negative as it may sound, I have seen much of it.
Why is this important? In a big family, there was always someone at hand to take turns. People help when they are around, now look at me so far away from my parents. Lucky for me, my brother and sister-in-law are amazing and care for my parents. And vice versa, my parents greatly help and support them. My aunts and uncles check-in, share a meal and lend a listening ear.
With people having smaller families, families living far from each other, and all adults working, people are away. At the same time, the personal space bubble has grown so big that we have forgotten to ask for help for ourselves or our loved ones. We have asked and were let down. Many have forgotten to ask others, “how can I help” or “what can I do for you”. Many have asked and suffered for their kindness—so many scenarios. A quote from Writer Gary Paulsen’s book comes to mind, “ you can take the man out of the woods, but you can't take the woods out of the man”. It's true for humans too, but instead of woods, we need to care.
I have noticed that it does not matter if we live in our bubbles. In 95% ( my assumption course), care is needed. You care. I know that is why you are here listening to this podc