To Care With a Loving Heart
Last updated: March 2021
Have you heard the saying “Those who give a lot have a big heart”? I imagine that a loving heart is about the size of your fist. Then I think of an enlarged heart and imagine there is more love to give because it pumps harder than usual. An enlarged heart needs more in return.
My mother's heart
My mother had an enlarged heart. She went harder than the average person - I imagine it was due to her enlarged heart. She was willing to give her last and always insisted on giving more. At times when I felt she gave too much of herself, she would continue to give. We named her one and only funding page The Big Heart of Evelyn Charrisse McRae for a reason.
Not many people experience love or even know what it means to love or be loved in their lifetime. I’m privileged to have these experiences. My mother became my best friend and I became her first in-home caregiver. I realize love is what kept her going. Loving yourself first and pouring that love into others second. Love is where she found peace. She showed love by being warm, kind, and sassy at times. Truly one of a kind love. Love was blind to her. She could show love to complete strangers. She was born with a gift. She was truly unforgettable.
Caring for my mother
As a caregiver for my beloved mother, I would do everything in my power to make sure she was feeling better. I would create the most comfortable situation for her. When you're a caregiver for someone, the bond you form with them is always special and unique - no matter if it's a close family member or someone else. I never wanted to see my mother in pain or discomfort.
I would often tell my mom if I could give her my heart I would. She would immediately interrupt my words and say never would I want to bury her child. To me, that showed how much she loved and cared for her children. I can recall always doing whatever it was to show her I cared, even if it meant waking up a few hours early before work to make her a special tasty chocolate slim fast smoothie just how she liked it. Even when I was tired or really didn’t have the time, I would do that just so she knew that she had something made especially for her.
Lived her best life
It is easy to show someone love when they love themselves first. The challenge comes when the person you are caring for is not feeling their best. It’s important to engage them in uplifting conversations of encouragement, love, gratitude, and let’s not forget laughter. My mother often could awaken anyone’s inner child with her stories and laughter. I’d like to imagine my mother lived her best life. She was always upbeat and the life of the party.
Though I will always feel like she should have shared more days on this earth, I know her time here was well-spent and she spread her love among many. I was her helper after her first pacemaker defibrillator surgery. It was all unspoken, yet I know we were both a bit nervous. I had recently moved into a 3 level home and she moved in with me after she healed. I never thought of myself as a caregiver although it came naturally. I understood the serious health condition my mother had and was right by her side, taking days off from work to make sure she was never alone.
Caring for me too
My mother was very stubborn and often liked to do things on her own. She would go to appointments by herself or ask her friends that were available so I did not have to take off from work. I would often worry about what she was thinking and if she was ok. In those moments she would become my caregiver when I thought I was being hers. She would tell me worry brings negative thoughts and encourage me to think positive and to focus on healthy thinking.
I learned so much from the experience as my mother’s caregiver. It made me more of a caring and considerate person. I was able to use all that she poured into me to help her when she needed me most. Although my mother’s heart was weak according to medical standards, it never weakened her spirit nor her strength. Experiencing her strength, observing her self-love, and the way she empowered whomever she conversed with or crossed her path showed me so much.
I hope caregivers or a person being cared for reading this is empowered to live and love life. Whenever you feel down, think healthy, positive thoughts. Our minds are stronger than we give them credit for. Spread love and gratitude each and every day. Feel free to share ways and/or tips for caregivers to show love and gratitude to those they care for.
Have you experienced shortness of breath in the last week?