November is National Family Caregivers Month. Do you know someone who is going above and beyond to care for a loved one? Or maybe that someone is you. Either way, we want to hear your story. E-mail us at [email protected] and you could be featured during the month of November.
This blog post was written by Rick Shearouse, husband of HelpHOPELive client Jeanie Shearouse.
My name is Rick Shearouse and I have been blessed to be married to the same wonderful woman, Jeanie, for 35 years. Together we have four children and three grandchildren. I’ve found that marriage and parenting is basic training for becoming a caregiver. It requires that you trust God, overcome your selfishness and joyfully accept the responsibility for meeting your family’s physical, mental and emotional needs.
Jeanie and I have also been partners in ministry for 35 years, pastoring churches in Arkansas, Texas and Florida. Pastoral ministry is like graduate work in becoming a caregiver. In ministry you take the skills that you’ve learned at home and with God’s help, offer caregiving to those people God has called you to serve.
All this helped prepare me and my children for the most challenging caregiving experience in our lives to date. On March 20, 2014, Jeanie went to the hospital for an outpatient procedure that was to last under two hours. The procedure failed and Jeanie was in the hospital for almost 90 days. For 28 of those days Jeanie remained unconscious as her liver began to fail. Gratefully, Jeanie eventually received a liver transplant. She had to relearn to walk, swallow and even breathe all over again, but during this difficult this time she was never alone. As a family, we made sure that one of us was always by her side. On June 13, 2014, she was able to come home, but she needed complete care during this time and our family provided it.
Jeanie has made an amazing recovery! She went back to work teaching the 2nd grade on September 22. She still is unable to drive, but we enjoy the 20 mile round trip together each day. It is a great blessing to be a caregiver! I realize that not every story of caregiving has a happy ending; my mother took care of my dad for seven years until he died of Alzheimer’s disease. It was very difficult and sad but the power of faith, family and friends has sustained us through our journey.
We are so thankful for HelpHOPELive. Their services have been such an encouragement to our family and friends. No one knows the future, but if we learn the life lessons in our past and present and establish strong relationships with family and friends, we will be prepared for whatever the future holds.