means different things to different people. It may include faith
or what provides a sense of personal meaning in life (and death).
When dealing with illness, spiritual issues often come to the
forefront of the patient's life, as well as your own. Illness
and other adversity disrupt your sense of meaning, your values,
and even your faith. Addressing your own spiritual needs can
help you deal with these concerns and open the possibility of
growth from the situation. In doing so, you may be better able
to accept the situation, and even find some positive aspects
in your role as a caregiver.
something like illness happens to you or someone you love, there
is a need to make sense of the situation. In this search for
understanding, you may find yourself asking and wanting to know
"Why has God done this to someone I love?"... "Why am I being
punished like this?"... "What did the patient or I do to deserve
this?" Often, there is no reason or logical explanation. Rather
than spending your energy trying to understand why bad things
happen, it may help to focus on trying to accept the situation,
cope with it, and allow yourself to learn and grow from it.
Whether you are religious or not, you may be able to find faith
in your existing beliefs about life and God. Use any spiritual
distress you feel to find meaning in the situation. Looking
at the situation as offering you the opportunity for personal
growth may be of some comfort.
Of course you are not expected to be happy about your situation
as a caregiver, or about the patient's illness. Chances are,
becoming a caregiver has led to many changes in your life,
about which you are not happy. Also, facing the prospect of
the patient's health deteriorating and having to watch him/her
suffer may be of concern to you. However, while it is perfectly
normal for you to mourn your losses, there is always another
side of the coin. Try to look at the bigger picture and focus
on any positive aspects of the situation. Think about the
good times you have shared with the patient, how you feel
about having the patient in your life, and how much would
be missing if the patient were not in your life.
time out to pray, meditate or practice spiritual
to nurture yourself.
to a chaplain or religious figure.
services at your church, synagogue, mosque, etc.
faith in what you believe, even if you are not affiliated
with a religion.
to find meaning in your role as a caregiver.
if you can identify anything positive that can or has
come out of the situation.
about what you can learn from the situation and how it
can make you a stronger person.
you feel yourself getting angry or upset about the situation,
take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and reflect
on these positive thoughts.
about ways that caregiving has made you a stronger person.
about why you have accepted this role and any positive
aspects of caregiving.
about the positive ways in which caregiving and the patient's
illness have changed your relationship with the patient.
if caregiving has brought you closer to the patient and/or
other relatives or friends.
a list of positive aspects of your relationship with the
patient, shared memories, and what the patient means to
you. Look at the list whenever you find yourself getting
upset about the situation.
you have found yourself questioning God and losing faith due
to your loved one's illness, you are not alone. Allow yourself
to acknowledge your doubts about God, religion, and spirituality.
Then, consider ways in which you can explain and accept the
situation through whatever beliefs you have. If your loved
one is dying, you may find that you can take comfort in thinking
about him/her going to a better place, or joining other loved
ones who have passed on.
may find solace in meditation or prayer if you give it a try.
Even if you are skeptical or hesitant, it may be worth it
for you to seek help from a spiritual advisor, such as a chaplain
or other religious figure. You might be surprised to find
that sharing your doubts about God can transform your perspective.
You may even find that the situation reestablishes your spirituality
or faith in God. Use your faith to help you cope with any
obstacles along the way.
to a chaplain or religious figure who has experience with
illness. He/she may be able to help you make sense of
your feelings and the situation.
prayer, meditation, or other forms of spiritual worship
your beliefs and try to use them to accept the situation.
to others in similar situations and see how they have
integrated spirituality and caregiving.
or establish a connection with a religious community or
group. Even when you have lost faith, this can turn out
to be a great source of comfort.