Mar 22, 2010


"In solitude we become aware that our worth is not the same as our usefulness," Henri Nouwen.

While being caregiver to someone who is dying with dementia is not what Nouwen was referring to when he said the above quotation, I believe it can apply. When we chose, or perhaps you believe you were forced into, caregiving someone with dementia, we also chose in many respects to be apart from the world. Professional lives are stopped, other volunteering is curtailed, socializing is limited. And in the case of many forms of dementia communication is limited, so that, too, can be an enforced solitude for the caregiver. So, perhaps it is helpful to think of our time as caregiving as a time of intentinal solitude. What is the best use of our time when we consider it in that way? The above quote gives me some ideas. For a long time I have equated my self worth with my productiveness, with what I achieved. In solitude I have an opportunity to see my worth as something much more.

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