I remember so clearly sitting at my desk one day, so upset because my Mom had another fall. I felt like a failure because I hadn't somehow prevented it. I worked so hard to ensure my parents' safety - I was really hyper-vigilant. Nevertheless, I was really feeling down on myself and those "I'm a loser" thoughts were crowding out reason. But then I had the realization that feeling like a failure wasn't helping my parents, and it wasn't helping me. It wasn't changing anything. I'm very practical and pragmatic at times, and this was one of those times. So I figured the opposite of failure is success. I needed to change my view of success, because there wasn't much else I could change. So I changed my mindset. The one thing I absolutely knew 100% was that I would always be there for my parents. When the waves of change and crisis came along, I would get knocked down sometimes, but I'd always always get back up. Resilience is success. Showing up. Being there. Walking alongside them every step of the journey...that was success.
That day really changed things for me. I was a little bit easier on myself, I felt more successful and confident. I saw myself as a successful caregiver - no matter what happened.
Now that my parents have both passed on, I look back and feel good about everything I did for them. I did my best. I'm resilient - and my resilience helped them be more resilient too!
A few years ago when the law firm I had worked for for 20+ years decided out with the old and in with the new, the new CEO took an instant dislike to me and did her best to have me fired. One day was especially upsetting for me, so I called my youngest son who also worked for a law firm and told him what was going on. He reminded me that I could retire if I wanted to, if I was fired. He also reminded me that I had a family who loved me and would help me, and not to worry anymore about it.
Turns out the CEO was the one who was let go several months later, and now I am happily retired. I often remind my son how much his pep talk meant to me, and how much I value his love.