The social isolation has been one of the most difficult aspects of caregiving for me. But I didn't really change that much as "me" - I just had to change a lot of what I did. I was still the same person who loved the same things I did before caregiving became my lot in life. I just had to stop many of the things I was doing because something more important needed to be taken care of, my son.
Even though I've always been a very (and I mean very) social and personable person, it's more difficult to develop relationships now for me. I know one reason is that we can't do some of the things others do to build relationships. You know, there's no meeting up for a movie, a cup of coffee or a walk in the park. Even if we do schedule it we have to be willing to drop our plans at the last minute because our loved one is not up to it, they (or we) become sick or any number of crazy things that can happen.
And sometimes it's because people don't see anything past our caregiving. They forget we are a real person behind the wheelchair. Maybe they don't think about getting past the caregiving to the person we are inside, maybe they don't know how. And maybe we don't know how to get out of the box either.
Even though caregiving has brought about many character and lifestyle changes in me, I'm still me. I still like music, I love a good game, I'm all up into sports and I still like my coffee, a good funny movie and my guitar. Sometimes I feel very alone because people don't look past the wheelchair at this person....a caregiver is still a person. It can be a very lonely place.
I'm so thankful that God is intimately acquainted with me. He knows me inside and out - and he's not afraid of the wheelchair. Psalm 139 gives us a glimpse of how closely He lives to us. He knows my thoughts (cuss words included) and He's not scared away. He feels me and still presses in to be intimately acquainted with me. I love this verse in Exodus 34:14 it says: