A Caregiver’s Unique Brand of Courage


Confronting a major illness for yourself or a loved-one takes courage. How would you define courage?

Many people would answer, "Acting without fear."

We often read accounts of someone instinctively responding to a crisis, often at the risk of their own life. We call them "fearless" and treat them as heroes and wonder how we would react in a similar situation.

M. Scott Peck says, "Courage doesn't mean acting without fear. Courage is having fear and acting anyway."

Our society doesn't call a single mother, sitting alone in an infusion center, having poisons pumped into her system, a hero because she's fighting to stay alive to take care of her children. We don't think of the man, holding his wife's hand as she is dying as worthy of a picture in the local newspaper or a spot on the evening news.

We may never have the opportunity to run into a burning building to save a child, but we very well may have a spouse (or a parent, or a child, or a friend) confronting a major illness. I encourage you to act, even if you are fearful. You can accept "what is," step forward, hold their hand, and be present with them. You'll be a hero in their eyes; although you won't make the 6 o'clock news.

Acceptance is an awesome force. Accepting reality is the force that drives forgiveness. You also can learn to cope in delving into the mind, life and acceptance of life and death that is the heart of my experience, as related in "The Dhance"

Coy Cross, PhD, spent years questioning the role of faith in his life. But when his beloved wife, Carol, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, it was the lessons of Rev. Carol Ruth Knox that helped him accept his role as a male caregiver. Coy has chronicled his caregiving and spiritual paths in the book, “The Dhance: A Caregiver’s Search for Meaning.”

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This is a good article. Caregivers need great inner strength and often show unexpected resources of courage when most needed. God bless them all.