Dear Karen:

I have been a caregiver for 15 years.  I recently had to assist in reporting a case of elder abuse.  It was not physical abuse, but my patient’s grand children were taking money from her without her permission.  My patient has dementia.  Someone else reported the stealing, I just verified the facts, and the family blamed me.  They assumed I made the initial call.  I told them that I spoke to the agency involved—legally I had to reveal the facts as I saw them.  I’ve been treated terribly.  I had to resign.  My heart is broken.  How do you cope with the sudden separation?  I acted out of concern for my patient.  Now she will be placed in assisted living—a far cry from the life she is accustomed to.  Her husband will remain in a long term rehab center and will not be able to join his wife.  She will wither and die because her children are not active in her life.  I am asking God to show me how to understand.

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Dear Michelina:

As you have just described, life isn’t always fair.  Because you chose to do what was right in the situation, you lost your job and your long-term relationship with your patient, and she will end up in an assisted living facility—separated from you and her husband.  So I hear you asking, “Where is the justice in all of this?” “I did what was right, and I am being punished.  Why God?”

I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. However, following are some of my ideas on this subject. One response to your questions, which has helped me over the years, is from Lewis Smedes,  a Christian teacher and writer.  He reminds us in his book, How Can It Be All Right When Everything is All Wrong?  Michelina, even the title of this book seems to describe your situation:  Everything seems all wrong and how can it be right?  The author says,

“What God expects of us, says St. Paul, is that we be faithful.  He puts us on earth as caretakers.  He put each of us here to take care of something.  And what he asks of us is that we be faithful in taking care of it.  Something there is in life for each of us to care for.  He does not ask that we be flawless, only faithful; not fantastic, not fabulous, only faithful.  Being faithful means to find out what you are here to take care of and then give it your best shot.”

Michelina, I pray that you will find some peace in the realization that you have been faithful.  You did what you needed to do.

A second thought which has been helpful to me is to remember what God has promised us and we live our lives and confront difficult times and injustices.  The following poem reminds us what God has promised.

by Annie Johnson Flint

God hath not promised skies
always blue, Flowers-strewn pathways all
our lives through;God hath not promised sun
without rain,Joy without sorrow, peace
without pain.But God hath promised strength
for the day.Rest for the labor,
light for the way,Grace for the trials,
help from above,Unfailing sympathy
Undying  love.

God has not promised that because we are Christians we will not suffer but as the poem says, God promises us that he will give us strength, rest, light for the way, help from above, unfailing sympathy. . .undying love.

Remembering then to (1) be faithful to what God calls you to do, (2) and remember that God has promised to be with you and to help you, and after remember these two things, consider “What is my next step?”

Some advice from Leslie Weatherhead’s book, The Transforming Friendship:

“Sit down and quietly survey the whole problem.  Then ask God to show you     the next step, remembering that God often speaks to us in and through the advice of a friend, through what we call common sense, as well as by swift intuition which sometimes seems like His direct voice; and then take that step.”

(Maybe the next step is to visit your friend/patient in her new care facility.  You can still be a vital part of her life.)

I pray that some of the above ideas will help you to move forward and find new ways to be faithful.



Please leave your comments or thoughts on this topic below.  Do you have a caregiving question? Ask Karen!

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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