Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Three Little Words That Caregivers Long to Hear

My friend Julie Drury is the bereaved Mom of her beautiful daughter Kate who passed away after a long journey of illness and pain resulting from mitochondrial disease and the invasive efforts to cure it. 

The other day, Julie posted this message on Twitter: 

These days Julie chairs committees and speaks often at conferences relating to patient experience and health care transformation. I've been thinking so much lately about those three words in her tweet: I BELIEVE YOU. So often I needed to hear those words too, especially because Nick denies pain (he is afraid if he admits to not feeling well that he will end up in the ER). But all of us who are close to Nick know his particular signs and signals of pain or illness. We need others to believe us when we put up our hand for help. 

My Mom needed others to believe her too, when she had severe stomach pain. All the tests were normal and yet, Mom was doubled over, gasping for breath. "I believe you." That is what she needed to hear and often, I remember myself instinctively saying it. 

Validation of our caregiver experience is a central component of solace and healing. We need to be comforted in our darkest hours and hearing someone say, "I believe you" is one powerful way to ease our distress. 

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