Our Caregiving Journey Ends

April 10th, 2017

Friends, 

It is with a crushed and heavy heart that I announce the passing of my father. For the sake of my family’s privacy, I won’t share my father’s name publicly. But I will share that he passed away on Friday March 24th, shortly after midnight. My amazing mother was at his side. She spent years as his primary caregiver. I consider myself to have been a secondary caregiver, one who was second in line to care for my father and to be his advocate when needed.

My family’s caregiving journey for my father has ended. Now we must make some decisions about how we will proceed. If you’ve ever been a caregiver then you’ll understand what I mean when I say there’s a now a void of responsibility before us. And we each have the task of deciding how we will move forward from this experience.

Photo by D. Southern

Shell casings from Daddy’s interment ceremony at the veterans cemetery. He served in the United States Air Force.

I created Caregivers’ Village because of my father. I wanted to invent a space where people like me, just average working folk, would come to understand caregiving as a process. For many moons, lower income families and families of color have understood that “somebody’s gotta take care of mama (or insert other relative)”. Caregiving has been as much a rite of passage as baptism and marriage in many cultures. But historically we haven’t recognized the stress involved. I wanted to share what I knew as someone who works in a helping profession, and as a caregiver for my father. 

My work has only begun, and as I am a believer that we are all spiritually connected, I’m convinced that my father is still in the air that I breathe. If I told you that our caregiving story was a happy one, I’d be lying through my teeth. It was challenging. And most days, there were no solutions. Coping is a valuable mechanism one must learn in order to remain whole during a process like ours. 

My father left me the ability to stand strong and unwavering in the face of adversity. This time is no different. I’m grateful for the time that we had in the physical world. I have friends who have lost their parents when they were only children so I try to humble myself and show gratitude for what I’ve been given. My father was alive to raise me, and to give me away on my wedding day and to become a grandfather to my children. He’s left his mark on this world through us. And so his work was done.

I hope that you all will continue to follow Caregivers’ Village and grow along this new journey with me.

Take Care,

D. Southern 

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