Site icon Legacies From the LIVING Room: A Love-Grief Equation

The Labyrinth of Caregiving

Legacies from the living room: Chapter Six

In chapter six I compare my caregiving journey with a labyrinth. I give specific examples and discuss the feelings of caring for my terminally ill husband with nasopharyngeal cancer. I share the conflicting emotions, challenges, and rewards of the journey.

What is a labyrinth?

A labyrinth is a circular pathway with one way in which leads directly to an endpoint in the center. It often has 7 different circuits or passageways. These passages have transitions and forks in the road and blind alleys- just like the caregiving journey through cancer.

What does it have to do with cancer or caregiving?

The labyrinth is circular and convoluted, just like the caregiving journey.  There is only one way in and one way back out. Sometimes we move forward easily, and sometimes we slow to a crawl. Often we stop and reflect, yet sometimes we want to bolt and retreat from fear of what lies ahead. The center is there but we do not know what lies between the center and where we are, nor how long it will take. Just as we know death is at the center and no one can tell us what is between where we are and the event. And as a caregiver, once you reach the center with your loved one, and they die, you must find your way back out, alone.

This labyrinth represents my journey to the center. It was filled with transitions as I went from wife to caregiver, as David went from athlete to hospice patient. We encountered forks in the path where we had to decide what was best. We had surprises with blind alleys hiding the path ahead.

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