Separation Through Connection

I go to a caregiver’s support group once a month, for the last six months.

It’s from 6-7:30 in a parish centre that’s a former parochial school, and the classroom we meet in, now fitted out with a large table like a board room, is full of papist paraphernalia, from a table full of wounded heart of Jesus statues to  devotional plaques on the wall.  Disquieting.

It’s a small group, between five and ten people, all of whom have an ageing parent in their life.  Most often the parents have memory issues; my situation, two parents, live-in care, and no dementia.

And none of these people are in their eighth year of care.

The facilitator is an ex-school teacher from the midwest.  She has told me that she rarely meets people who think so deeply about caregiving.

And that seems to challenge her a bit.

I quickly realized she wouldn’t engage my emails, and she has very little curiosity about me.

Last night, she never even asked me to speak even though there were only four there (though one was a couple.)  I had to take the last five minutes, and after, she asked if I wanted feedback.

I said yes, I would.

She then said she really had none to give.

Yeah.

But that doesn’t mean I was quiet.

I ended up having to guru.

You know; those moments when I offer another view, speaking for truth and balance, and people go “Oh.”

I said that we have one set of concerns for those we love, but that they have their own concerns, and those often don’t match.   I encouraged the couple to actually have her mom set out her concerns, which are not the safety that daughter wants.

The husband found my words wise, and said that he wished someone had said that to him when he was caring for his mom a few years ago.

The facilitator offered an empowerment notion she is working on, with the idea that we  are not caregivers, we are care managers.

I made some comments, on imposed versus organic management, on management as service, on the difference between management and supervision, that stuff.

“I would get the one person who has actually studied management!” she exclaimed.

Yeah, one person who would go deep and make connections.

She was lucky I didn’t go into my current rant about the difference between marketing  management and engineering management, which came up for one reason: it’s almost impossible to kill someone with sloppy marketing.  That means marketing management ends up encouraging sloppy, while engineering management ends up encouraging accountability.  Marketers hate engineers — way too nit-picky– so they have pushed marketing management everywhere, replacing hard discipline with floppy talk.  This has lead to some problems.

I was very useful, giving new insights from a funky viewpoint.

And that means I wasn’t asked to speak, and when I did, no one had any real feedback.

After all, whatcha gonna tell the guru?

I stand and speak for connection, offering ways to speak the truth that empower.

People find it useful, good and different.

And when I do that, I end up separated, isolated.

It’s an old, old pattern, a wounded healer thing.

My sister spent three hours here, and the next day she told me that of that three hours, about 45 minutes was really challenging, times when she got stuck in our parents worlds.

If my world was challenging 15 minutes out of every hour, and I have been doing it for over seven years, she can see how it’s tough for me.

But in the end, that’s what separates us, not what connects us.

I end up having to trust my connection to the universe, not to others, as I always have.

And that always seems to leave me as just a god dammed guru.

One thought on “Separation Through Connection”

  1. My sister told me that the problem with my work is that I make it seem too easy.

    “When someone tries to do what you have been doing, even for a few minutes, they start to know how hard it really is.”

    Some frustrated women with deep maternal instincts get a puppy.

    I got two really challenging parents.

    I know how to make it comfortable.

    I don’t know how to get…

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