Personal Reflection: A Postscript

Personal Reflection: A Postscript

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7452-1.ch005
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This chapter encompasses a reflective autobiographic account of the principal investigator, Dr. Ware, that plumbs the depths of what it means to be an informal caregiver for a family member or loved one. The chapter traces her steps as a caregiver for her late mother and the joys of personal fulfillment (positive sense of social wellbeing) and occasional travails associated with an individual stepping in this role. The author uses the independent variables in the study (subjective wellbeing, self-efficacy, spirituality, social support, resilience, and leisure participation) as lenses to discuss a reflective account of her idiosyncratic experiences in the context of her own family.
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Caregiving often calls us to lean into love we didn’t know possible. (Speers & Walker, 2013)

The day this researcher had to make the tragic decision to remove my mother’s leg was when I realized Mom (or life) would never be the same. You see, my sister was against the procedure stating “Mom has too much pride for this Debbie. She wouldn’t want this. If I am ever unable to make health care choices for myself, don’t hang onto to me like this. Please just release me.” At the time neither she nor this researcher realized how prophetic her words would come to be. Gangrene had invaded Mom’s foot which had travelled into her bloodstream causing her leg to become infected. The doctors’ explained that Mom’s leg needed to be removed if we wanted her to live any longer. Mom wasn’t capable of making her own wellbeing decisions and had bestowed this responsibility onto me (her eldest daughter). My sister didn’t believe Mom would want any of her extremities removed from her body. She declared “Mom would want to leave this earth precisely as she arrived. All four limbs intact”. This researcher just couldn’t phantom Mom leaving us simply because of an infected foot. So Sharon (my sister) left the ultimate decision to me stating “It’s your choice. I’ve said my piece. You are the oldest”. Mom lived another 2 years afterwards battling dementia, cancer and other health challenges. So this researcher never regretted her decision. And mom never mentioned its absence. At the time mom drew her last breath, this researcher and her sister had been informal caregivers for 14 years.

The experience is what prompted this researcher to research factors contributing to the subjective wellbeing of informal caregiving. This topic eventually became the subject of her dissertation. This researcher was certain that the lived occurrences of this phenomena (informal caregiving) was of relevance to an audience broader than my immediate family. As one of the things which connects us as humankind, is our ability to relate and progress in character and conscience through the instances we share alike. This segment of the book is this researcher’s brief reflection (along with related instances of several of the study participants) of these experiences via the selected variables. It is this researcher’s hope that this personal reflection will empower readers in similar circumstances.

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