The caregiver has been referred to as the “unsung hero” of the cancer journey. This characterization is perhaps one of the greatest understatements ever uttered. But I know of no better way to describe the complex subtleties of a deep bond between caregiver and cancer survivor. If the cancer survivor’s journey is a roller coaster ride without a way off, then how can we describe someone who willingly climbs aboard, buckles up, holds your hand and says “We’ll get through this together. Just hold my hand.”?
Through music, this CD explores the various aspects of caregiver/survivor relationship, with eyes toward the many roles the caregiver plays. This insert can be used as a study guide leading the listener into an exploration of the various topics that may come up in the caregiving journey. Or you can simply turn on the music and let it take you there. Either way, please know that your role as a caregiver is one of the greatest expressions of love that one human being can show another. And that the challenges, trials, and insurmountable obstacles gradually melt away under your watchful eye, whether you know what you’re doing or simply don’t have a clue. It’s your being present that is most important. And most cherished. So please accept my heartfelt thanks for the role you play. It is an amazing gift that you give.
1.You Raise Me Up Rolf Lovland, Brenda Graham
The resources of the caregiver come from a deep, but not endless, well. Where do you find support for your role as a caregiver? What raises you up? Have you taken time to care for yourself? There are a number of “caring for the caregiver” options through local hospitals, churches, and cancer support communities. I encourage you to take advantage of them. They are there for you.
2. On My Way to You Michel Legrand, Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Did you ever stop to wonder how you came to be a caregiver? What events or decisions or forces allowed this relationship to develop? Would you have changed things along the way or are you content with how your journey has unfolded?
3. In Her Eyes Michael Ochs, Jeff Cohen, Andy Selby
The caregiver can find accolades such as “hero” or “angel” offputting. After all, if the shoe were on the other foot, wouldn’t they be the recipient of the same assistance? That may be a loaded question. But truth is, caregiving can be its own reward. The love language of providing care is quite powerful. It is not a duty nor a hindrance. Being necessary to someone can provide a great sense of self worth. And lets not forget that those we care for can still bring us tremendous joy despite the limitations. Do you feel like an angel? Like caregiving is your duty? Or do you actually find joy in it?
4. Every Time I look at You John Reid, Andrew Hill
Cancer can steal away even those things we don’t expect it to: body image, functional organs, and as a result, intimacy. As a result, a healthy and satisfying sexual relationship often falls by the wayside. This loss generally goes unnoticed by the health care community as it isn’t required for life. Sexuality can, though, be an important component of quality of life. Have you noticed intimacy issues? Do you know that there are counselors who focus especially on sexual dysfunction?
5. You’re Still the One Shania Twain, Robert John Lange
One of the many challenges the caregiver faces is to balance the autonomy of the survivor while still exerting influence on the countless decision points crossed. The survivor, while understanding the need for the care provided, can bristle at even the thought of being aided. This helplessness lowers the survivors self worth. Yet they are still the person we love. We choose to be with. We run to. Confirmation of the many joys that the survivor brings us goes a long way to reestablish self confidence.
6. Eternal Life Dr. Dan Foster
Of any lyric I can recall, these words attributed to Saint Francis of Assissi, are the true anthem of the caregiver. Caregiving is exhausting. We aren’t always at our best. We can feel as though everything that we are doing is just plain wrong. This simple prayer asks for the ways to bring out the best in ourselves…so that we may serve others. A safe harbor in the eye of the caregiving storm.
7. Never Alone Anthony Evans
Advocacy isolates. Fighting the good fight, sometimes against incredible odds, takes its toll. Taking a stand for our survivor can mean standing against things we never expected to: our survivor’s decision making, medical advice and occasionally reason itself. We feel alone. Where do you turn at times like this?
8. Wind Beneath My Wings Larry Henley and Jeff Silbar
The supportive, almost background, nature of the role of the caregiver can make you feel invisible, like the currents that support the eagle in flight. And perhaps just as thankless. But I don’t think most caregivers adopt the role for its accolades. The role adopts them. So, is it really “unnoticed” to remain in the background? Or just playing second fiddle, supporting the lead instrument at the time? And with regard to thanks, sometimes the depth of gratitude is so profound, so deep within the soul that it can scarcely be uttered. The “thank yous” often come in the touch of the hand or the intensity of the glance. Rest assured that your caregiving has not gone unnoticed or even unthanked. You may have to find them in other than the usual places.
9. The Living Years Mike Rutherford, B.A. Robertson
So often, the words get in the way of what we are trying to say. This pattern evolves into an endless cycle of misstatement, misunderstanding, and missed opportunities. And in the end, we simply stop trying. Years go by without reconciliation. Only in the living years can we break this cycle. Is there someone in your life that you’d like to reconnect with? Why not do it today?
10. To Where You Are Richard Marx , Linda Thompson
A great void develops is our lives when we lose those closest to us. The countless hours spent in caregiving are now idle days lost in memory. And we cannot help but wonder “Is she at peace?” or “Did he find what he was looking for?”. We simply want to know if they are okay. Not surprisingly, many caregivers have some concrete sense of connection beyond life. Has your loved one found their way back to you from beyond in some way? A sound? A vision? A feeling? Were you able to somehow know they were at peace?
11. Bridge Over Troubled Water Paul Simon
The caregiver often assumes many different roles over the cancer journey. Many times these roles are unfamiliar and even frightening. Did you’re your job description include: nurse (care for wounds or devices), pharmacist (managing medications), researcher (finding novel treatment information), doctor (suggesting treatment options), financier, cook, bus driver, truth teller, shoulder (to cry on), hand (to hold), ear ( to listen)? Were you prepared? Were you successful? And did you manage to play the right role at the right time? Or did you feel out of synch? Take heart that those of us who do this for a career play only one role and we train for years to get it right. And we all understand how difficult it is.
12. For Good Stephen Schwartz
The journeys of at least two people merge upon a cancer diagnosis: the survivor and the caregiver. And for sometime onward these two journeys influence and impact each other: one by necessity and one by choice. Neither the two shall be the same, with each decision affecting both. In which ways have you both changed? Have you been changed for the better…or just for good?