Lights and shades: a new blog

John Constable – Study of clouds

Dear Friends and Readers,

I have started a new blog about caregiving and caregivers, called “Lights and Shades”.

I talked about this project about a month ago here. As this blog is coupled with a Facebook page where posts of your blogs are shared:

there will be a Facebook page for readers and/or followers of the new blog.

I hesitated to start a new adventure. But you know of The Little Family and The Girls. Life is sometimes difficult for them; it is often difficult for me. I wanted a space to talk of this non-status, which the one of the caregiver.

He or she provides the (most of the time daily) care needed by aged, ill, disabled, in any case dependent person. However, this dedication is not recognized (at least in France) by the law, or only in a side, oblique, way.

How the caregiver is to live remains a great mystery for me. When he or she is a full time caregiver – as I am – no financial means are provided. No help is given. Help can be attributed to the caregiven but not under the guise of material help: it must be a socializing form.

In my case, for instance, this means that I have no financial means to live on. I have no right to get help or relief or respite. Help is given to The Girls but this does not encompass cleaning and shopping or gardening: all these fall on me. The Shopping-cum-Cleaning Lady should only take The Girls to the library or the pictures/movies, or to take a walk, or to meet people. Which is stupid, as this Lady is very nice but much less aware of the intellectual or social needs of The Girls than I. And of course, less qualified to increase their instruction and cultural level. As I am less qualified than she is about cleaning, driving about, etc. As to the gardenner, he is considered as a luxury I have to fight for endlessly. I should be cutting the grass, mowing the lawn, cutting hedges, pruning trees, and so on. After all, I am a valid person who shares The Girls’ house with them. Thus thinks the administation in her great wisdom.

The new blog will deal with these material aspects of caregiving as well as with the psychological ones.

How does the caregiver live. How is his or her life? Does he or she have a social, emotional, life? Does he or she have friends, lovers, husband or wife? Does he or she have a family life? How does he or she take care of him/her self? What about illness, burn out, depression?

All these issues, which are crucial for me, have no place here. And yet, I need to discuss them. I expect I am not the only one. And so, I have started “Lights and Shades”.

Of course, any and all of you are welcome.

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7 thoughts on “Lights and shades: a new blog

  1. Interesting! Many congratulations on this new journey and I’m sure you will the answers you are looking for.
    The unknown aspects of life always fascinates us. Part wonder, part scary but we do want to find the answers hidden in the dark.

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    1. It may be an as pect of life you do not meet in Pakistan. We have already discussed together the fact that, in your culture and civilisation, parents for instance live at home with their childrewho take care of them. In Western civilisation and culture, parents are sent or ask to go to homes for the elderly. Family is not anymore the large one that used to be focussed upon until the beginning of the 20th century. It is now the nuclear family (father, mother, children) or split family, or “recomposed family” after divorces, or homoparental families with the possibilty for gay and lesbian couples to adopt children, etc. But families are now two generations: parents and children.
      When it comes to ill husband or wife, there are homes as well. Same for disabled persons. But they may be very expensive. Usually, one sibling does not take care of another. Moreover when there are no private financial means, as there is no allowance for the caregiver in France.
      So there are several issues with which the carer has to deal and some are very materialistic, as “what shall we eat at the end of the week?”. For instance, I have stopped eating lunch and part of dinner for some time as we have not enough money to feed the three of us. But when I say so to my doctor, he is angryy about me and not about the system.
      Therefore, guilt is piled upon the caregiver at the same time as its caregivinng and his/her search for daily solutions.
      The new blog is for people like me to express their love, their frustrations, their angers, and for people like you if you wish to know about our lives.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my dear! Now I understand completely what are you going through. I was unable to grasp about your life earlier but after reading this comment and your introductory post on your new blog made me realized about how much you go through every single day.

        I also had no idea previously about the way caregivers are treated in France or anywhere else. This is truly a dark picture, hidden behind the glimmering image of the West.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you, my friend.
        I don’t want to complain in this blog. I only wish to show what it may be to live a carer’s life. There are joys (lights) and difficulties (shades).
        As you say, there are dark elements well hidden behind the glimmering image of the West. This is one of the reasons I wanted you (and still want if you agree) to show everyday life in Pakistan. In your country, your culture, there are things for us from the West to learn, as there may be things the East may learn from us. If only we were sharing our cultures as you and I do…
        This new blog is for me and I hope for other people across the world to speak openly without guilt about their experiences, to share their burden, to receive and give comfort. And perhaps, if it is sufficiently known, to make laws, institutions and mentalities move on a more satisfactory way.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is interesting. The blog will have two aims (at least): one will be to speak freely and without guilt of caregivers’ feelings and difficulties; another of experiences according to the countries. The issue of the allowance and the fact that being a caregiver is a recognized fact and status (a person with a lawful voice) is the perfect example.

      Liked by 1 person

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