A podcast where we share stories of hope for family caregivers breaking through loneliness to see God even in this season of life.
Stories of Hope for living content, loving well, and caring with no regrets!
Rayna Neises, your host, talks with Charlaine Martin. Charlaine has been a three-time caregiver for her mom, dad, and late husband. She is a contributing author in the Live and Learn Unexpected Lessons from God’s Classroom. Charlaine loves helping others see God’s involvement in everyday life. She lives in Florida with her second blessing, and they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren. Charlaine shares the following insights:
- [3:01] There are a lot of blessings when spending time caring for your loved one.
- [5:42] At times, you have to bite your tongue.
- [9:12] Scripture tells us that we are not alone. Even when we think we are, we are not.
- [11:36] You learn along the way.
- [13:51] You grow closer to the person you are caring for.
- [15:10] Permission from your loved one can make a big difference.
- [17:28] Just have a willing heart and continue to learn in each season.
- Connect with Charlaine through her website at www.charlainemartin.com.
- This episode was brought to you by Content Magazine, an electronic quarterly magazine to help you find God during your caregiving season. The Spring edition was released last week! Visit www.ContentMagazine.online to learn more.
Charlaine Martin has been a three-time caregiver for her mom, dad, and late husband. She is also a contributing author in the Live & Learn: Unexpected Lessons from God’s Classroom. Charlaine loves helping believers see God’s involvement in everyday life.
She lives in sunny Florida with her Second Blessing. They love sharing tickle bugs with their grandchildren. You can connect with her through www.charlainemartin.com
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
[00:00:00] Rayna Neises: This is Rayna Neises, your host for A Season of Caring Podcast where we share stories of hope for family caregivers breaking through the busyness and loneliness of life to see God even in the season of life. I’m excited to introduce you to our guest today, Charlaine Martin. Charlaine Martin has been a three-time caregiver for her mom, dad, and late husband. She’s also a contributing author in the Live and Learn Unexpected Lessons from God’s Classroom. Charlaine loves helping believers see God’s involvement in everyday life.
[00:00:31] She lives in sunny Florida with her second blessing. They love sharing tickle bugs with their grandchildren, and you can connect with her through her firstname.lastname@example.org.
[00:00:43] Welcome, Charlaine. I’m so glad to have you here today.
[00:00:46] Charlaine Martin: Hi Rayna. Thank you for having me. I’m so glad to see you and talk to you.
[00:00:52] Rayna Neises: Well, it’s wonderful to meet you as well. I’ve been excited to be able to share your story in the Spring Edition of Content Magazine, and I think it’s wonderful for us to be able to bring all different stories to life. So thanks for joining me on the podcast and being able to share.
[00:01:07] So I read in your bio you have cared for mom, dad, and your late husband. Tell us a little bit about them and how long that caregiving seasons looked like for each.
[00:01:17] Charlaine Martin: My dad was the first one and I cared for him. It was kind of long distance for about three years, and that last year I was driving back and forth between his house and mine by about an hour at a time pretty much every other day I would set him up and make sure he was set for the day that I wouldn’t be there. And he was always welcome to call if he needed anything. But we also had a neighbor nearby.
[00:01:45] Rayna Neises: That long distance can be really challenging, can’t it?
[00:01:48] Charlaine Martin: It can be, but he wouldn’t let anybody else help him.
[00:01:51] Rayna Neises: Mm. That’s so hard.
[00:01:53] Charlaine Martin: It is. And then my late husband had colon cancer stage four for four years. And so obviously as the wife, I’m the caregiver now. At first my kids helped out, but then they, you know, moved out of the house as they graduated and started families.
[00:02:13] And then he took on a pastorate over in Pennsylvania. And so it was just the two of us over there with the church . And I have plenty of church support, but I was the primary person taking care of him and it really got hard in that last year, but I was just so blessed to have him that long,
[00:02:31] Rayna Neises: Yeah, definitely. That’s such a difficult disease in a whole different situation with all the treatments and the doctor’s appointments. I’m sure that was really difficult.
[00:02:39] Charlaine Martin: And then my mom was the last one. She died a little over a year ago, and we moved her from down in Ohio up to where we lived in Michigan because she couldn’t take care of herself very well anymore. And we had her in a senior living apartment and we lived like just down the street. And so I could go back and forth and help her out.
[00:03:01] And so I had a lot of blessing. And spending time with her and seeing her faith change and grow.
[00:03:11] Rayna Neises: It’s challenging walking them all the way home is the way I word it. I think it does bring out so much growth in ourselves and even the person who’s in that journey. You know, finding yourself at the end of life is not where we ever imagine ourselves, and we don’t spend a lot of times thinking about that. So it definitely is one of those things that kind of surprises us a lot of times.
[00:03:32] Charlaine Martin: It does. It certainly does. Yes.
[00:03:35] Rayna Neises: So do you have a caregiving story that you would like to.
[00:03:38] Charlaine Martin: in any of the cases. And so I just thought, okay, we’re just doing it. And when I sat in the hospital with him when he had a liver resection, I thought that I would just about die.
[00:03:53] It was so hard to do some of the things I needed to do for him. You know that you’re loved when somebody’s willing to help you with certain things that no one helps you with.
[00:04:05] And so you know, just being able to grasp the enormity of this situation and then realize that you’re, it.
[00:04:16] Rayna Neises: In your situation, it sounds like there was kind of one right after the other as far as illnesses and people, the other thing that I think that stands out is just that you had different types of concerns and so you had to learn a lot about all the medical needs of the different people that you were taking care of and be able to step into those needs.
[00:04:34] That sounds really challenging.
[00:04:36] Charlaine Martin: Yes, it was. My father was a very, He did not like to go to the doctor. He always thought they were trying to get his money and that kind of thing, which was kinda silly. And so we were going out and around doing some of his errands. He was not doing well at all. His face was pale. I said, dad, you really need to go to the emergency room.
[00:05:00] And I had him in our van and the kids in the backseat, we were homeschooling at the time, and so they were working on their schoolwork. And I said, let’s go over to the emergency room and have you checked out. And he started yelling and cussing at me. He was not a Christian, which was challenging. And I said, dad, let’s go.
[00:05:18] And so he was trying to open the door and get out and I was still moving. And so I was buttoned trying to keep him in. And I pulled in by the emergency room and he beat me on the door lock. And got out and his house was only like a block away. So he walked home and I thought, oh no Lord. I failed. I failed.
[00:05:42] But you know, I didn’t fail, as I look back at it. But his was tough, just simply because of his attitude and not being a Christian. I really had to work to not get angry with him and just love him and respect him as I was supposed to. So I had to bite my tongue a lot.
[00:06:01] Rayna Neises: Yeah, that sounds really challenging and then you’re having that example in front of your kids, which is not what you wanna see either as, as far as having that battle with him. So I’m sure that was really challenging too, to then teach into the moment. And just, I guess we all have to learn grace. And that’s part of the process, isn’t it? It was having grace for each other.
[00:06:21] Charlaine Martin: It is.
[00:06:22] Rayna Neises: So share with our listeners a little bit about how God showed up for you in your caregiving season.
[00:06:27] Charlaine Martin: I don’t know how many times he came through with support. You know, people would say, Hey, you know, I can come over and sit with your husband while you’re at work, and that just helps so much. I had to stay in Columbus, Ohio at the university hospital. My husband had to stay an extra week and we didn’t have enough money. God provided money and he provided a place for me to stay with someone that I knew from way back in college. But with my mother, she knew Christ, but she was not well churched and God brought a wonderful lady into her life as a best friend who helped her grow in her faith.
[00:07:14] And as she changed in her faith, I saw a change in her attitudes and how she would treat me. I grew up in an abusive home and she was one of my abusers. And I, I hate to say that, you know, moms sometimes aren’t always the type of mom we wish they would be, but her heart changed so much and I could just see that change in her because of her friend.
[00:07:44] Rayna Neises: Wow, that’s amazing. I hear frequently how difficult it is and really the struggle that people have with trying to care for parents that weren’t kind or even had conflict as adults how challenging that can be. What did you find helped you to be able to reach out to her and, and to offer her what she needed in her later years? What had she, is that the point in which you’ve already seen the change or was it still,
[00:08:12] Charlaine Martin: Well, she had come to Christ earlier. But like I said, she was not well churched. And so some of her unhealthy behaviors were still there, but she was workable at first and I helped explain to her why she needed help and she was willing to move, but she was willing to give up all her stuff
[00:08:34] Rayna Neises: it’s hard.
[00:08:35] Charlaine Martin: so she wasn’t happy.
[00:08:36] But at times she would yell at me. She threw her phone at me once, and that was hard, and I just had to say Lord,. I don’t want to deal with this. I really don’t. And so I just heard him say, Char, toss the phone on the end table. And so I just gave it a little flip onto the end table. Took a deep breath and said, mom, I think that we’re done with this right now. We can talk later. And I turned and left, and that really got her gear wheels going.
[00:09:12] She started really thinking some things too, but I had to pray a lot. And you know, scripture tells us that we’re not alone. Even when we think we are, we are not. And so if we ask him for help, he will give us the help that we need. And the words to say, the things to do.
[00:09:32] Rayna Neises: Definitely, in caring for my dad who had Alzheimer’s, there were not a lot of times that he was really not kind. But there were definitely times that that happened and it was a shock to me because though my dad was a ball player and had been in the Army, I know that he didn’t have the best language all the time.
[00:09:50] Right. But by the time I came into his life, I never heard him cuss. And so the first time he cussed at me, oh, I can just remember that. It just shocked me and made me so sad, and it was like, Lord, you know, I, that’s what I needed was I needed. Just to be able to have that comfort of the Lord at the time in the moment and just have him say, he’s human.
[00:10:13] Everybody’s human. We all lose it at times and definitely, I learned how to approach in a different way so that I didn’t press his buttons near as often, but it, there was definitely seasons of time that that irritability was there. And I think of for myself, I’ve had a frozen shoulder for a year at one point, not now, but in the past.
[00:10:33] And living in pain, which so many people were caring for are. Can really make people not kind. And so it is one of those things that definitely as we grow older and we have more aches and pains, we hope that we’re growing also in the faith. So the Lord can help us with that instead of having our mouth spew all those ugly things.
[00:10:55] So, It can be, it can be so challenging, but I’m so thankful that he was always there, like you said, and was able to support and just offer that comfort, even if it’s just that shoulder to cry on .You know, for the Lord to be there and to really offer that.
[00:11:11] It is challenging, I think all the different kinds of personalities. If we were, if everybody was like us, It’d probably be a lot easier to take care of ’em. But I imagine with your husband, your mom and your dad, there were a lot of differences in how you were able to care for them and what you were able to do for them.
[00:11:29] How did you navigate knowing how to care for them in each and their different personalities?
[00:11:36] Charlaine Martin: I think that I learned along the way. I didn’t get to be the child like most kids get to be. Sometimes we’re treated like mini adults and are given a lot of responsibilities, and so we find coping mechanisms to keep the peace. And so those are things that we rely on to be able to quell the anger to dissipate something or just to avoid it all together because we already know them really well.
[00:12:04] You know, thankfully my husband wasn’t an irritable person, but we did have an argument in the hospital when he was there for the last time. And so I said, I’m gonna take a walk, I’ll be back. And he says, okay.
[00:12:18] Rayna Neises: Kind of learning what you needed in each situation, it sounds like, helped you to then be able to meet the need as you could.
[00:12:25] Charlaine Martin: yes, it did. It really did. I, I knew what buttons to avoid with them, and you know, it, it just, It’s, it’s hard when their personalities change with dementia
[00:12:38] Rayna Neises: Mm-hmm.
[00:12:39] Charlaine Martin: And so understanding that, and thankfully when my mother went into the nursing home they were very good about communicating with me. It was during Covid and I couldn’t even go see her.
[00:12:51] And that was, Assault. And so they communicated a lot with me, helping me understand what was going on and what they were doing to try to help her. And when I did finally get to see her, then, she just wanted me to hug her and I couldn’t, because, you know, I wasn’t allowed to touch her. If I touched her, they wouldn’t let me come back, you know? And so that was hard.
[00:13:14] Rayna Neises: And she didn’t understand that at all? Probably.
[00:13:17] Charlaine Martin: No, she did not.
[00:13:19] Rayna Neises: I can’t imagine.
[00:13:21] Charlaine Martin: Yeah,
[00:13:22] Rayna Neises: I often had said during Covid, I was thankful that I didn’t have to. Figure out how to navigate that. Cuz I’m not sure I would’ve done that very gracefully because it was so heartbreaking to be kept apart and then when you have that peace in there where they just don’t understand, they can’t, it was hard enough for us to make sense of anything. I’m not sure we did, but we tried, you know? But when you have that brain change going on, none of it makes sense. And so I’m sure that was really heartbreaking.
[00:13:48] Charlaine Martin: It was, it was,
[00:13:51] Rayna Neises: Well, thank you for sharing a little bit about both your mom, your dad, and your late husband, I would love for you just to leave us with one little nugget of, of what you learned through caregiving.
[00:14:03] Charlaine Martin: I think the biggest thing I learned in all three cases is that you grow closer to the person you’re caring for.
[00:14:13] Rayna Neises: Hmm.
[00:14:14] Charlaine Martin: There is a blessing in the middle of all of that. In, in all the cleanups, in all the medications, in all the, the anger fits. We connect with them at a greater level that anybody else could ever do, and so I was blessed to be able to share Christ with my father before he died.
[00:14:37] He couldn’t communicate, but he just sat there and looked around. And when I talked to the nurse when he died, she said, oh, he just got really quiet and then he just slipped away. And you know, I was able to hear my mother’s story about. I don’t know if, if this really happened or if it was a dream for her, but she dreamt about going to visit her friend in the hospital for the last time and how she got to walk her friend to the stairway of heaven, and that just made her glow.
[00:15:10] And for my late husband to be able to spend time with him and be able to slowly let go, he gave me permission which a lot of people don’t think about. But he gave me permission that when I felt it was time to date again and to marry again, he was okay with that because some people left behind don’t feel like they can. They feel like they’re cheating on their, their dead spouse, and it’s not the case. And so that permission made a big difference, but I got actually crawl up into the hospital bed and hug him before he died, and that made a huge difference. Nobody else got to do that but me!
[00:15:57] Rayna Neises: Mm-hmm. It’s beautiful and I think it is so important. We’re called to caregiving. We’re called to seasons in life, and I think. When we don’t realize how important it is to fully embrace that calling, we miss out on so much.
[00:16:17] Charlaine Martin: We do.
[00:16:17] Rayna Neises: And it does look different and for different people of what that looks like and what your support structure looks like.
[00:16:23] But I think really embracing that caregiving and remembering through the trenches. You know, they say when you’re raising little ones that it, a day feels like a year, but a year feels like a day whenever they get older, it goes so quickly. And I think the same thing’s true with caregiving in the trenches that day can feel like it drags on forever, but then when they’re gone and we look back. We feel like, gosh, those days went so, so fast. We’re coming on five years of my dad’s passing here in the summer. And it’s amazing to think that it’s been that long. What we wouldn’t do to be able to have another day with them. So I think just for keeping that in mind to cherish the moments and in the moment is so important.
[00:17:04] Charlaine Martin: Exactly.
[00:17:07] Rayna Neises: Thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been an honor to be able to talk with you and just to have you share your wisdom with our listeners.
[00:17:15] Charlaine Martin: Well, thank you so much for allowing me to share and, and the encouragement because someday, you know, I could be a caregiver again and so could you.
[00:17:24] Rayna Neises: Definitely. We never know when it’s gonna come do we?
[00:17:27] Charlaine Martin: No, we?
[00:17:28] Rayna Neises: We just have to have a willing heart and I think continue to learn in each season how to care for ourselves at the same time as caring for the person that God brings into her life. And then we can be a blessing to all.
[00:17:40] Charlaine Martin: True.
[00:17:41] thank you.
[00:17:42] Rayna Neises: Well, listeners, thank you for joining us today and for hearing stories of hope from Charlaine. This episode has been brought to you by Content Magazine. Our Spring version was just released earlier last week, so be sure to check out that quarterly online magazine offering hope for you through your caregiving season so that you can find moments with God and find that opportunity to be refreshed and walk back into your caregiving.
[00:18:08] A Season of Caring Podcast has been created for family caregivers for hope of living content, loving well, and caring with no regrets. If you have legal, financial, or medical questions, be sure to consult your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.
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