Caregiving: I’m on Hold


A week and a half ago I wrote my first blogsay (= blog essay) on caregiving. I talked about my several month commitment to maintaining this household while my partner recovers from surgery and complications, and some of my own limitations that I have had to overcome or deal with.

I’ve noticed that in the 10 days since that last post, I haven’t felt that I had a thing more to say to (my miniscule corner of) the blogosphere. It’s like whatever little bit of creativity or expression I have is all used up just in the day-to-day operation of the house. And it’s not like there haven’t been things worthy of commentary: the election, protests and repression in Iran, more seamy dirty laundry from the politicians, continued economic crisis. It’s just that it’s possible to be so totally absorbed by supporting another’s healing, that there is just not enough left to share elsewhere.

This is a good wake-up call for me. I do think that I am paying some long-overdue bills. I worked as a kid, but my parents spoiled me rotten. I was smart, never had to study hard, and guess what? I didn’t. ALWAYS got the job I asked for and kept it. Never married, never had kids, diapers to change, ball games to go to. Didn’t settle down until age 45. Moved away from my home town, had a brother and sister that did the major caregiving for my parents as they declined and then died. My “childcare” has consisted of Stephen’s daughter living here for two of her teenage years and my nephew living here in his mid-twenties. Yup, I’ve had it easy for a LONG time. So THIS is how almost everyone else in the world has to live!

Still, glad as I am, even proud, to be a major support for Stephen’s healing, I have lost some of myself. I could go on doing this, but I wouldn’t be totally happy. I’ve always billed myself, if nothing else, as Creative (you note the capital “C”). Learning new things, just with a little different slant, composing music, writing papers, developing new ways to capture my students’ attention. All my life I’ve had these little projects lying around—like the counted cross-stitch Christmas tree skirt that I have worked on the past five Decembers. Or to take the most recent example, I did transcribe a rare Clarence H. Woods piano roll (Black Satin) late at night in the past few weeks after all the work was done.

This man does not live by service alone, and that’s ok. Hey, it’s my life too, and God is still calling me to be all that I can be. I’m creative. I’ll just figure out a way how not to loose touch with this important part of my self.

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Author: Jim Andris

Retired gay married early adopter. Cooking, cleaning, fixing. Makes good music occasionally; U name it. Churchy dude. Likes to think about things, too much, sometimes. Dump Trump. Trying not to do too much harm. Revisiting blogging. Looking for a new handle on things. Exploring genderqueer.