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I have to admit that I am not a Country Western fan. I don’t hate the music I just don’t listen to it. One of my brothers sent me a couple of albums by Hal Ketchum. I found that I really liked the albums and played them a lot. I also found a song called “Satisfied Mind” that I feel should be subtitled “The Care Givers Song.” It especially hit me hard after I lost my Mom. This is for anyone who has been a caregiver and trying to cope with the end.

Many more miles were behind him than he had left to go
Closing in upon that last one we all must walk alone
It's the one across the end of the line

When you are caring for someone there is only one way it will end. You are caring for someone who is ill and the end of life is where you are heading. The end of the line is death. It is a long and lonely road that caregivers walk but it is a road that we choose to walk.

So we held on and we told stories of the good and bad in all
Of the power and the glory and the lonely days that crawled
And he said Heaven holds true love and a satisfied mind

I spent many an hour talking with my Mom. She wanted to talk about my Dad. He was the only man she had ever loved and their marriage lasted for 55 years. It ended only when my Dad suddenly keeled over while planting a bush and was dead of a massive heart attack before he hit the ground. My brothers couldn’t understand that Mom did want to talk about Dad. I listened as she talked about missing him so much. I blinked back tears because I missed him too. Mom was a staunch Catholic and she often said that her faith and the belief that she would see Daddy again in Heaven kept her going.

He said I ain't afraid of dying 'cause I know there's something worse
When you have to see your reason for living go first and you get left behind
Some can't think of nothing better than to live this life forever
I never wanted no more than was mine
And to lay down someday and go home with a satisfied mind

I have talked to many caregivers and they always feel that the worst part of being a caregiver is watching someone you love deteriorate and then die. It was such a heart wrenching experience watching Mom get thinner and more bent over. It was terrible watching her gasp for breath and to know there was nothing I could do to help. I know Mom couldn’t live forever but it was hard watching her go. She wasn’t afraid of death because she had the certainty that she would see Dad again.

He said don't look into the darkness if you want to see true black
Look into a morning's brightness when love ain't coming back
And you will find right there a darkness that blinds

The end has a psychic darkness to it when it comes. I found that first year after Mom passed away to be very difficult. My life had revolved around her for so long that I felt adrift when she was no longer there to take care of. It was hard coming out of the darkness into the light. It is hard but eventually things do start to get easier.

And don't think wealth is ever having all you want all to yourself
It is found when you are giving what you have to someone else
The only difference in the rich and the poor is a satisfied mind

This verse is so true. The rich can afford to hire someone so they don’t have to be caregivers. It is the rest of the 99% who take on the burden that have the satisfaction of knowing that we were there when we were needed the most. It is when you are willing to give of yourself that you get the greatest reward. As hard as it was being Mom’s caregiver I will always know that I was there for her. I made her last years happier and easier. She was my Mom and I loved her. I will go through the rest of my life knowing that she knew of my love and was grateful that I was there for her. I will never be rich in money but I have a wealth from being a caregiver that no amount of money will ever replace.

And one light began to fade as one grew brighter
And he said I ain't afraid of dying 'cause I know there's something worse
When you have to see your reason for living go first and you get left behind
Some can't think of nothing better than to live this life forever
I never wanted no more than was mine
And to lay down someday and go home
Let me lay down someday and go home with a satisfied mind

As a caregiver I faced the end of life. I faced the darkness that Mom’s death brought. I am now facing the light in a new chapter in my life. I’m not afraid of dying. I know that I did the right thing in putting my life on hold to care for Mom. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I have a satisfied mind.

Originally posted to CareGiving Kos on Wed Dec 21, 2011 at 03:18 PM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Community Spotlight.

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