Merriam-Webster defines independence as the quality or state of being independent ;or not subject to control by others; or not requiring or relying on something else : not contingent; or not requiring or relying on others (as for care or livelihood).
This week we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July here in the US to mark the anniversary of the publication of the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain in 1776. This represented the freeing of Americans from British Rule. While we commemorate what some would call a great memory many years ago – I ask you to reflect on what led up to this point. It was a difference in opinion in the governing minds, mostly among the overarching authority. Many may recall some of the opening remarks to Lincoln’s famous speech- the Gettysburg address several years later –
“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. ….”
There are some of you who may be waging a war – it could be an internal one, maybe not knowing what to do as you face a situation as your loved one struggles to assert their independence while you try to keep them safe. It’s funny that this tug of war – a one of independence -reminds me of a situation I encountered with my Dad. He wanted to be treated the same as if nothing had changed but the reality was that it had.
I recall a time when I finally had to take the car keys. He wanted to drive and I was a concerned daughter. I noticed that his reflexes weren’t as sharp as they used to be and that could be dangerous when you need to be able to react quickly. A simple discussion filled with a pleading of concern was not enough. Was this a situation that he could no longer endure? The answer was becoming apparent, it was a safety hazard. Could I have that on my heart that something could have been prevented if I could stop it? I no longer could hold back my concern and had to assert my authority. We met on that great battle field and so began a new normal – a new nation. I no longer allowed him to transport himself to his treatments but provided an alternate arrangement of transportation that would keep him and everyone else safe. The keys and the car was a symbol of the last bit of independence he had as he didn’t have to rely on someone else, but now that was going to be a need. Giving up those items was met with great resistance but eventually he warmed up to it. I guess because he had no choice but to accept it. I really think he had to come to terms that his independence while it was hindered somewhat, it wasn’t totally taken away. What I had to do was ensure that he was safe. Sometimes it’s a hard decision to make but it was for the best.
Is there something that you are thinking about or concerned about concerning the future of a loved one? Perhaps you’ve been wanting to scale back the driving habits of a loved one or maybe it’s something else at home that’s of greater concern. Do you need a little encouragement or just something to give you an edge of how to prepare for what may be forthcoming in the future? Do see warning signs that keep nudging you that something has to done, maybe an action plan or something to ease into those conversations? To help you get started, I’ve created The Caregiver’s Prep Guide. The prep guide includes a self-assessment to walk you through the questions to ask yourself to get prepared and evaluate what you are already doing and what may be necessary in the future. To find out more visit https://bewellbeswell.com/caregiversprep to get your guide. On this Independence Day, I wish you rest, reflection and I send you encouragement, you can endure and you shall make it through.