Becoming a caregiver is typically not a journey you ease into: much like the poem “Welcome To Holland” reminds us, it’s often like suddenly landing in rainy Holland when you set off to vacation in sunny Italy.
“But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.”
And since November was recently proclaimed National Family Caregivers Month, I thought it was only fitting to invite Kim Kane to be my guest on today’s episode.
Kim is a mom to five children and walks beside her daughter Erin on her medical journey; she also cares for her mother with Alzheimer’s. Kim brings a beautiful perspective of what it means to be a caregiver, how it affects your life with some great insights.
Erin, who is now 15 years old, experienced a Hypoxic Ischemic Event which occurs when the brain experiences a decrease in oxygen or blood flow in the first week of her life. As Kim navigates life caring for a child with cerebral palsy and visual impairments, she’s truly learned to not sweat the small things and make the best of what is.
She reminds us that “every journey is easier with the right guides” and that by putting your faith in doctors and God, your journey can become a slightly lighter one. She also shares great advice on making hard and painful decisions when selecting surgeries or medical interventions for your children. And she reminds us to empower ourselves as caregivers; by remembering to fill our cups so that we have more to give out to others. The life of a caregiver can feel lonely, especially when you feel like you’ve “landed” there abruptly with no map or guidance. By reaching out to the right community and taking one step at a time, you’ll be less likely to miss the joys that can be found along the way.
Key Takeaways with Kim Kane
- Recognizing the love and sacrifice of caregivers providing crucial care to loved ones.
- How being a caregiver affects life as an individual, partner, and parent.
- Putting your faith in therapists and God during life’s hardest challenges.
- Advice on making hard decisions regarding your child’s medical interventions.
- Reminding ourselves to appreciate every day as a gift.
- How to “fill your cup” as a caregiver in order to have more to give to others.
- Remembering to celebrate the small wins
- The power and importance of reaching out to others and finding a community.
Kim Kane Tweetables
- “Faith has gotten me through a lot, but I think sometimes people just wonder why it’s happening to them.” – Kim Kane
- “Erin is not her MRI. It’s just a part of her history, a snapshot of her life; she’s the one to decide what she’ll do in life.” – Kim Kane
- “There are times when we question the pain we put her through, but that is quickly tempered with the fact that we should just decide to do nothing. Her little life would be shortened. Hard choices: the right choices often are.” – Kim Kane (on Erin’s scoliosis surgery)
- “When you’re a parent and you have a full cup and you’re pouring it out to fill your kids’ cups: if you don’t have anything to fill yours back up it runs empty.” – Jamie Freedlund
- Visit Erin’s Caring Bridge Page
- Information on Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
- Poem on Parenting A Child With Disabilities: Welcome To Holland by Emily Pearl Kingsley
- A Proclamation on National Family Caregivers Month, 2022
- Be The Match: Donate Marrow or Blood Stem Cells
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