Folks, I have many questions. But for now? I decided to just share my profile information and go from there so that you all have an idea where I am coming from before I just ask away...

I am unsure if I have picked the proper site. I am 55 years old. Male. Pretty much my whole adult life has been spent caring for others. My granddad, grandma, then my mom, my great uncles, aunts. My own three children that I had full legal and physical custody of. I was also a senior Pastor, and in full time ministry somewhere in there. I eventually after caring for my mom who in '14 was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer, was within a year and a half of her death, informed (because I almost physically assaulted the doctor) that my youngest son had stage 4 colon cancer. It had invaded his spine, liver, lungs. I cared or stood watch over him during multiple hospital stays. I eventually lost him in '18 at the age of twenty-four. I cannot begin to tell you how devastating that was. The pain was almost intolerable and still is. During his diagnosis and fight for life, I found that all three of my adult children had become heroin addicts. And for all intent and purpose I essentially had lost them all because of that. During my son's last year of life, my then wife and I applied for guardianship of my daughter's son, not quite two years old. We were granted that, and just before that, I suffered a grand-mal seizure at work, and was also diagnosed with diabetes. Both I was told due to severe stress, anxiety, and depression. After receiving custody of my grandson and losing my son Jordan. My wife and I separated and still processing through a divorce. So, I am now alone at 55, and raising my now 6-year-old grandson. I spent ten or more years raising my own children after my then wife, and mother of them, decided to go back to a life of drugs and left us, but I was younger then, and I had not been in what feels like a 16-year boxing match. I am exhausted. I do not know where to look for help, nor am I sure there is any available. I feel old, worn out, and just weary.

Thank you for your time.

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You have certainly been through a lot, and are still here to talk about it, which shows that even though you may not feel it, you are a very strong person. Of course you're tired and weary. Who wouldn't be with everything you've been through. But Jesus says(as you already know)"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:28-29
He alone will be your strength, as you know that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.(taken from Philippians 4:13)
You must now turn your "caregiving" tendencies away from others and turn them inwards to yourself. It's time for you to start taking care of yourself(and your small grandson of course)and start putting yourself first instead of last. Not in a negative or selfish way, but in a healthy way, so that you can rejuvenate your body, mind and soul. Only you can decide what that might look like, but trust me when I tell you that you are worth it, and so is your grandson. He deserves to have a healthy and whole father figure raising him, and being his example of what a Godly man does in times of trouble.
You are doing a great job, so cut yourself some slack, and just rest in God's presence.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says to "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." And that to me is great news, and I hope it is to you as well.
Now may "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace." Numbers 6:24-26
Helpful Answer (13)
Reply to funkygrandma59
Shokaree Nov 20, 2021
I could not in a million years, think of a way to thank you enough. That was the most encouraging, and wonderfully backed up with scriptural truths I have ever seen. I had completely forgotten Isaiah 43: 18-19! Forget the former things...Forget the former things...I have in my many counseling sessions with people, given them an example of living and looking in the past, in real terms. I always say, "Let's see how successful you would be, attempting to drive your car down the street, while looking only in the rear-view mirror." Of course, you know that is impossible, no matter how well you know the street, or the cars that normally park along the curb...You know? it seems to me, that much of the continuing struggle, is the waves of grief I experience from time to time. I will do ok, then it hits me, loss. Loss over and over, from 1995 until present. And I never get upset at the Lord, But I do ask, and plead in tears for Him to show me WHY? But, In the end I always just thank Hiim until the next round. Thank you so much, so, so much. God bless you Funky!
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Shokaree, you are most welcome here.

This is a support forum for caregivers and you most definitely meet the criteria.

It sounds like you also have much to offer to others here.

I hope you stick around and find more encouragement and a safe place to vent.

Your grandson is truly blessed to have you.

I have a precious sister in Christ that adopted her grandbaby when she was 52. It has not always been easy but, God has always provided and held her up. She is now 19 years old and just got her 1st apartment. Of course mom is rejoicing that she is launching. HE will do the same for you and your grandson.

God bless and strengthen you during this hard trial.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Isthisrealyreal

Dear brother-in-Christ, you have been through a lot of very stressful life events. Of course you feel worn out, tired, and a lot older than your years. Caring for others is a very tough job and you have cared for others over and over and over again.

I do notice that you never mentioned others helping you with this burden of caring. We are never meant to do this kind of work alone - it causes severe burnout. That is major contributor to your depression and probably most of your physical ailments.

As an RN, let me offer a few suggestions:
1 - Get help from others in caring for your grandson and others. Ask competent family members, friends, members of your faith community, and even paid help. The goal is to allow you enough time away from caregiving to work and meet your own health needs.

2 - Make time to take care of yourself. Remember that story of the oxygen mask on the airplane, you keep forgetting to put on your own oxygen mask while trying to save others.
a - Make time for your basic needs: 3 healthy meals at a moderate pace, 7-9 hours of sleep every night, 1 hour of exercise (walking counts) every day, hygiene and whatever other health tasks you now must complete.
b - Make time for your love and belonging needs. You have needs for love and companionship on a daily basis. Yes, God is the focus of our highest love and adoration, But, people require our love too - especially our spouses and families. You have to carve out and protect the time that your family needs to feel your love and for you to get loved in return. Then, carve out time for fellowship with godly men and couples in friendships - some folks like to call these Bible study groups or small groups. Ministers need friendship groups as much as the other members of the faith community.

3 - Get godly counsel when your are having problems. Yes, you counsel others through their life challenges. You also need help from others when your life has major problems. Start with a godly psychiatrist and family doctor to take care of physical and mental health issues. Then, gather with a couple of mature men you trust that have been through some of the life events you mentioned. Support groups are good for this.

With time, you will find a return of energy as your health improves and you allow others the blessing of helping you.
Helpful Answer (11)
Reply to Taarna
WearyJean Nov 23, 2021
Wonderful advice, Taarna!
Wow. My heart just hurts for you. I can't imagine losing a child; it's just not natural, to bury your children.

First, let me say I will keep you in my prayers. Secondly, I think you have amazing fortitude and strength, to go have gone through so much heartbreak and still come out on the other side as a loving individual.

I think when someone becomes so entrenched in caring for so many people with such tremendous problems - and while you aren't caring for an elderly LO like most everyone else in this forum, you are certainly a caregiver with serious, legitimate concerns - you lose sight of all of the "little" things that you do each and every day and start to beat yourself up that you're not "doing enough". And that's a personality trait, I think - I have often said at the end of the day "well, I didn't get anything done today" and then my husband will say "but you did 3 loads of laundry, you went grocery shopping, you made dinner and cleaned up" or something like that, and I realize that instead of feeling good about the "little" things, I tend to focus on the bigger: like gee, I didn't get into the basement today to start organizing.

And it's all of those "little" jobs that are so wearying. I think it's because they become such a normal part of your everyday routine there's not sort of "TaDa!!" feeling when they're done - you know, like if you re-paint a room, when it's done you look around and go "wow, look at what I did!" But running a load of laundry? Wash, dry, fold, put away? No "TaDa" moment there; just an everyday event. But one that took time and effort and had to be done. Raising kids is really all about the "little" jobs that you have to do daily, and you often don't get accolades, and sometimes you don't even get appreciation. And then *you* have the added weight of no support from a spouse and you have, in essence lost your family to drugs. It's no wonder you're worn out and weary.

I hope you are seeing a physician to help control your diabetes. It has been advice given here many times that you can't take care of anyone else if you're neglecting your own health. It doesn't make you a selfish person to put your health at the top of your priority list; if you lose your health, you won't be able to help anyone. Unchecked diabetes can lead to so many serious health problems, as I'm sure you're aware. It's also ok to admit you need and seek help for your depression. I've watched my daughter struggle with depression for years now, and it's as hard a battle in many ways as fighting cancer. You need to start making *you* a priority in your life, not just everyone else around you.

I hope you can find some relief and comfort. God bless.
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Reply to notgoodenough
Shokaree Nov 20, 2021
That is so funny, the little things? Those are what kill me. That and when the little things don't get taken care of, they become big things, and then they are overwhelming. In my experience lately, not prior to the "cheese slipped off of my cracker" event. I would always get back up, and deal with it. Now, I make myself feel better by saying tomorrow, then I crash and burn "tomorrow". It is a personality trait I believe! I focus more on the BIG organizational, details than on just getting the job done. I always have. I have begun (in the past) to take on cleaning my living room. Realizing that there is a coat closet in the living room, I open the door. boxes. I pull them out and spend four hours going through boxes and organizing the contents. Only to realize the original goal was just cleaning the living room.
You have endured so much loss and yet you are still a giver in the world - You are truly doing gods work and it surely is exhausting.
Keep swimming and Dont let the hardship change who you are - you are a blessing in the world - but also don’t forget yourself in this journey. This is when we all remind each other of that! Don’t forget you - you are important too.

I am going to send prayers your way that someone pops into your journey to help you not forget that about yourself (though I’m thinking your grandson does that daily).😊

I hope it just felt good to come here - tell your story and realize you are not alone in what seems like a very lonely journey - this place reminds me of that often. It allows me to accept I’m not crazy - I am blessed and I truly believe God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers - I see that in my moms stroke and her life every day.

She went from an emotionally abused child to building a family of her own - to my dad and love of her life being a severe abusive alcoholic whom she had to set free - became a single mom who worked overtime and ate the scraps to give me and my sister the best life she could give us - she then beat breast cancer while doing chemo every day and still working every day (as she had 2 kids and she had no choice) - to finally finding the next love of her life and to then get a few short years with him then windowed by 49 - onto moving near me - building her own business and being an amazing nana and mom - she was extremely proactive in her health on no medications and had just been cleared of her arteries checked etc - 2 months later - massive stroke - everything was gone - in a blink life happens - I see her every day and she is different - she will never be the mom I knew - but she is still somebody and as hard as this journey is and as much as I have to grieve the loss of my old mom - I still see her worth - I also believe God has a plan - and I look at her and I know she is one of his strong soldiers and she and I are in this journey for a reason. You are one of these soldiers chosen for the toughest battle - so I’m sending you strength and prayers and to be surrounded by people who will go to battle with you or even just remind you - you too are worth battling for and to be good to yourself.

It is so difficult to keep our faith when we watch those we love struggle or suffer - but this is when we need to trust it the most - it will carry us through. Keep the faith - I have a feeling God has something very special in store for you🙏🏼🦋
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Reply to Momheal1

I am 61, and a full time caretake of my 83 yr. old momma. I understand and see you. Just know that you are never alone and that you are welcome here always.
I just try to take one day at a time, and I pray a lot. I have realized that sometimes I have to just let go and let God. Somedays are harder to do that for sure! I am dealing with my own physical ailments, and sometimes feel as if I am not doing enough for her, but I do what I can, have a good cry and move on. I try to not get overwhelmed by taking one problem at a time, if possible.
God bless you, and I will keep you in my prayers.
Helpful Answer (8)
Reply to Raskasha

Shokaree - I first want to say how truly sorry I am to hear of your losses. It's a lot to take. I understand what it's like to lose a lot at once and it's overwhelming and can bring the strongest person to their knees. I hope you find solace and acknowledge all that you have done in supporting your family members thru their struggles. And I hope the beautiful memories of your son helps to ease your pain and sorrow.

I think the best means to help feeling as you stated - tired and weary - is to focus now on your own self - in your mind, body and spirit. Little by little, do what you can in lifting your spirits and taking care of yourself - whether it's by gradually some exercising (even stationary bike) - improves the eating healthy...reading...perhaps adopting a rescue dog..finding an in-person support group and meeting new people..reaching out to friends..taking walks..taking on a hobby with your grandson..etc - whatever you can do to fill your mind and soul with positive thoughts and healing.

You've been thru so much and you deserve time for yourself to heal, however best you can. Realize that you are not alone - and from your words, you remain being a very strong, resilient and kind person. Be kind to yourself and give yourself time.

I wish you much peace...and I hope the new upcoming year is a new beginning for you - that's filled with Much Happiness..Hope...and Joy to come.
Sending blessings :-)
Helpful Answer (7)
Reply to Hopeforhelp22

Casey, we may not be qualified to give you advice, but we can listen and pray for you. I will pray that God will send you people to encourage and help you. My husband, a former pastor, is in the last stages of dementia. My favorite Bible verse right now is "Come unto me all you who are WEARY and I will give you rest." God bless you!
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Reply to WearyJean

I see on your profile that you are a Pastor…but sometimes they need help too!

I would start by talking to another religious mentor..a Pastor. Rabbi etc..& also someone trained in grief counseling. Perhaps your health insurance can pay for this? Also, take daily walks. Eat healthy. Pray 🙏🏼
You’ve been through a devastating time & survived! You’re stronger than you think!
Hugs 🤗
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Reply to CaregiverL

This is such a wonderful forum where we can lift one another up and feel a connection. Shokaree, I so appreciate your honesty. So many of the posts are expressions of anger, frustration, pain and the single thread I read is that we all are such caregivers but lack the ability to care for ourselves. I have been bent to my knees, a son addicted to heroin (who fortunately now is doing well), being also the primary caregiver for my mom, who passed in 2018 and now my 95 year old dad. And on top of this, my brother and sister, who live very far away, are essentially estranged.
My faith has deepened as of late. We have found a church that supports us and lifts us up. I also am very active in AlAnon. I cannot go a day with out my readings, or a week without my meetings.
I truly do believe that we are chosen; our suffering isn’t for naught, but to teach us grace and humility. My ego wants to fight this daily, but my faith and my program keep me on track.
Put the focus on YOU. You cannot be a caregiver unless you put yourself first. On an airplane, you are told to put YOUR oxygen mask on first, before you can help others put theirs on.
The planet needs the nurturers such as yourself. Keep up the good work, but always take care of you.
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Reply to mb0704

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