Caregiving: Your Best Is Good Enough

In this excerpt from Strength & Grace Magazine, a loving wife caring for her ill husband receives a  much-needed reminder to be gentle on herself. 

by - Posted on Oct 28, 2020

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Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

My husband, Roger, was suffering through another round of chemotherapy at the hospital in Pittsburgh, far from our home in West Virginia. He had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma and the cure was at war with his body. His constant shaking, the high fever and his inability to keep anything down were heartbreaking to watch.  

Out of nowhere, Roger said, “I think I could drink a milkshake.” 

That’s all I needed to hear. I rushed out of the hospital, not sure which way to go. After walking several blocks, I found a restaurant, and ordered Roger a milkshake. I was so proud of myself for being able to get him exactly what he wanted. Milkshake in hand, I headed back toward what I thought was the hospital, but then I realized I didn’t recognize any of the buildings.   

“Could you tell me where the hospital is?” I asked a woman passing by.  

“You’re a long way from there,” she said, and gave me some quick directions. 

Trying to remember her directions, I prayed I’d find my way. Finally, I saw the hospital. I had made it back, but the milkshake was ruined. 

“Where have you been?” Roger asked, worry in his voice. 

“I got lost and now your milkshake is melted,” I said, near tears.

“That’s okay,” my husband said. “You tried your best.” 

I was disappointed I was never going to be able to fulfill every request as a caregiver, but I realized I needed to go easier on myself. My best was all I could do.

Lord, help me be as gentle with myself as I am with the loved one I care for.

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