I am currently taking an online writing class which finishes up today. The content each class member writes is shared with the others in the group and the teacher/editor.
I always get so much out of these classes. One thing is that everyone has stories to tell. Some are funny, some are brutal, some are shocking. There is no such thing as boring when it comes to the human experience.
In addition to daily writing prompts, we are also asked to come up with a summary to help pitch our book idea. In a previous exercise, we had listed our character’s goals. Since my concept is a memoir, the main character is myself, and I wrote that the main goal was to “Keep Mom from dying, or if it’s her time, let her die with dignity.”
But as the teacher rightfully pointed out, a caregiving memoir is really the caregiver’s story. Even if a great deal of backstory is about the person being cared for, it is told through the filtered lens of the caregiver.
I think this is important to consider because so many caregivers lose their identities as they give more and more of themselves to others. The all-consuming duties of being a family caregiver leaves little time for reflection. When the caregiving phase of life ends, some are left wondering who they have become.
It can be a struggle to turn the lens on ourselves, after being out of the picture for so long. Whether through writing, music, art, dance or some other form of self-expression, it’s a place we owe to ourselves to explore.