July 01, 2023
Grief is an emotion most people associate with losing those in our tightest circles, whether it be best friends, a significant other, or family members. When you lose someone who doesn’t exist within such proximity, the feeling may be reduced to sadness in order to account for a lack of closeness.
However, grief in any amount is still grief. The difficulty of coming to terms with the fact that someone has passed and can no longer be reached by us is universal and inevitable. To experience such loss can take a huge toll, regardless of how deeply it hits us. This is the risk that caregivers – along with other healthcare workers – take when entering this occupation.
They train extensively to help those who are sick or unable to take care of themselves with the hopes that they can make positive changes in these people’s lives. In doing so, they are offering up pieces of themselves and their time to others. That alone requires strength that often goes unacknowledged. The empathetic nature of this job of course allows for and encourages a connection between the caregiver and client.
Time spent even in relative silence can bring them together by sheer understanding that they can find company in one another. Companionship thrives in the little moments of greetings and “how are you?”s. And, though many clients might not outwardly express it, they deeply appreciate someone worrying for their wellbeing. It’s the little things that make being a caregiver so special; so much so that it comes to a point where doing the job becomes more about helping someone they genuinely care about and less about just doing the job.
With that being said, if a client were to pass away, that absence can be inexplicably prevalent in a caregiver’s life as well. When an established routine of visiting someone throughout the week suddenly stops, it’s jarring. There’s something extremely disheartening about having to let go of someone you cared for, especially when there’s nothing that could’ve been done about it.
This brand of grief, one so impersonal yet close to the heart all the same, is confusing, but wholly valid. Because humans are social beings, it’s no surprise that we often want to find common ground between each other to bridge unfamiliarity amongst ourselves. So when clients a caregiver has only ever spent a few shifts with dies, that alone is worth mourning. Behind the professionalism of a caregiver is a person who bonded with someone in need of their help. There is no shame in feeling this grief, nor is it out of place to experience it in the first place.
Contributor: written by Ryshel Constantino, Angels Heart Care Team member
Images by Ben White & Patty Brito Unsplash