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, welcomes Nanette Holloway. Nanette is a registered nurse who loves to write. She is passionate about caregivers after her own journey with both of her parents who had cancer. Nanette knows firsthand the gift of a long goodbye and the physical, mental, and emotional challenges culminating in caregiver role strain. She leads a caregiver support group and her book series for caregivers offers a holistic approach to self-care with the inclusion of scripture and prayers. The series includes Coping Skills for Caregivers, Coping Skills for Caregivers Workbook Gratitude Journal, and Before You Depart. Nanette shares the following insights based on her caregiving journeys:
- [6:42] God is present in end-of-life situations and loves to be invited in.
- [7:45] Caregiving is exhausting.
- [7:49] Anticipatory grief is what we feel when we know someone is going to be leaving us.
- [8:19] You are on an emotional rollercoaster and just have to hang on.
- [12:19] At the end of the caregiving season, you can know that God will never leave you or forsake you.
- [12:49] Adopt a mindset with others of love and acceptance.
- [13:58] Give yourself grace.
- [14:34] Hang on to the good moments.
- This episode was brought to you by Content Magazine, an electronic quarterly magazine available to help you find God in the middle of your caregiving season.
RN, Family Caregiver and Writer
Nanette M. Holloway, MS, RN is a registered nurse and loves to write. She has a passion for
caregivers following her own caregiving journey with both parents who died with cancer. She
knows firsthand the gifts of a long goodbye and the physical, mental and emotional challenges
culminating in caregiver role strain. She leads a caregiver support group at her church. Her book series for caregivers offers a holistic approach to self-care with inclusion of scripture and prayers. Her book series is available on Amazon.com. The series includes Coping Skills for Caregivers, Coping Skills for Caregivers Workbook, Gratitude Journal and Before You Depart.
This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
[00:00:00] Rayna Neises: Welcome. This is Rayna Neises, your host of A Season of Caring Podcast where we share stories of hope for family caregivers, breaking through the busyness and loneliness of caregiving to see God even in this season of life. Today I’m excited to introduce you to Nanette Holloway. Nanette is one of our contributors to Content Magazine, and I’m excited to have her share a little bit more about her story today.
[00:00:28] Nanette Holloway is a registered nurse who loves to write. She’s passionate for caregivers following her own journey of caring for both of her parents who died of cancer. She knows firsthand the gift of a long goodbye the physical and mental and emotional challenges culminating in caregiver role strain.
[00:00:46] She leads a caregiver support group at her church. Her book series for caregivers offers a holistic approach to self-care with the inclusion of scripture and prayers. Her book series is available on Amazon, and the series includes Coping Skills for Caregivers, Coping Skills for Caregivers Workbook Gratitude Journal, and Before You Depart.
[00:01:07] Nanette, thank you so much for being here today.
[00:01:10] Nanette Holloway: I’m so delighted to be here, Rayna.
[00:01:13] Rayna Neises: So, I know you cared for both parents, so tell us a little bit about what that looked like.
[00:01:19] Nanette Holloway: Well, with my mom, I was fairly young and I lived outta state. I had a baby at the time. My oldest was one when, when my mom died, she died of lung cancer. I got hospice going for her but really in reality, I had been a caregiver to my mom. Mm, most of my life. She had been sick. So I was kind of in that role. As a young person, [00:01:49] Nanette Holloway: probably why I’m a nurse. [00:01:51] Nanette Holloway: But yeah, she, she was not healthy and she didn’t feel good most of the time. So anyway, I learned compassion and I did end up getting pretty depressed after she died. I got through it. And then my dad, he developed cancer of the esophagus and the doctor gave him one year to one month to live. [00:02:17] So I was, and, and at the time I was homeschooling my children, my two boys, so I was pretty busy. [00:02:26] Nanette Holloway: So I just told God, you know, I don’t know how I’m gonna do this. [00:02:30] Rayna Neises: Thats’ a lot [00:02:32] Nanette Holloway: Yes. So there was one day that my husband said, why don’t you just go pray? So I did. And I remember saying yes to God that I would take care of my dad. [00:02:46] And he said that it would be a short season, I kind of felt that, course I didn’t know what short meant, and there were times when it, the year felt like a very long time. But during that year at the onset actually of the caregiving season, I kind of asked God for the world. [00:03:09] I asked that a relative that I lived dearly would be saved. And I asked that my relationship with my dad would be reconciled somehow because he was just angry and he seemed to take everything out on me. So my feelings were hurt most of the time and we had been pretty close when I was growing up. I had been a daddy’s girl, so it was just pretty devastating to me that, you know, he was so angry all the time. [00:03:39] Nanette Holloway: So I asked for a reconciliation with him and then I also asked that some family curses was be broken, and my dad ended up living almost a year to the date of the diagnosis, and I do believe that it was God keeping him alive so he could answer all my prayers. I really do. [00:04:02] But, but anyway, it kind of looked like I wasn’t going to get the reconciliation because he couldn’t hear communication with him was very difficult. And you know, I just didn’t know how to get my feelings across or anything. [00:04:19] And one day a friend called and she said, Well, why don’t you write him a letter? Well, I had already written him a letter and it didn’t work, so I didn’t know what I was gonna do. So anyway, I did sit down and write him another one, and it was very, very heartfelt and it probably cut through all of the nooks and crannies of growing up. [00:04:49] And. Good and some bad and maybe some things where I might have missed it. And anyway, I took the, he was at the nursing home at this time. I had taken care of him in home for quite some time, and then just with the homeschooling, it was very difficult. So I put him in a nursing home, but I took the letter to the nursing home. [00:05:15] And he read it, and we both cried and hugged for like two hours. And we did that for a couple of visits. And so I, I got my answer to prayer and then my, my relative that I wanted to get saved, he got saved. So I, I really got everything.
[00:05:36] Rayna Neises: Wow.
[00:05:37] Nanette Holloway: then I was a hospice nurse for a while. And I kind of knew what people needed, you know, and you kind of have to journey with them a bit, [00:05:51] Nanette Holloway: During their caregiving and end of life issues. So I did that and I always prayed that God would dot every I and cross every T for people because he did that with me.
[00:06:07] Rayna Neises: It’s amazing to feel that closure. I know my book is called No Regrets and there’s times that people push back on that and they’re like, Rayna, how can you say that? It’s not that everything was perfect, it’s that I was able to take each challenge and look back at it and go, okay, I wish I hadn’t done that. So let’s just. Let’s get the forgiveness we need, move forward and do it differently. And I think that’s what it’s really about, is not that it’s perfect, but rather when you get the to the end, you are able to bury them without regrets and you are able to really know that it’s come to a close in the way that you want it to.
[00:06:42] Nanette Holloway: Yes. Yes. I, and I just, I also really feel like God is so present in end of life situations. He loves it when we invite him. And he embraces us in each situation, I believe.
[00:07:03] Rayna Neises: Mm-hmm. It takes us having to be dependent on him for us to really see that he’s always here and always in the middle of it. And that dependence is so exasperated in caregiving and in that end of life journey, we spend so much of our life fighting for their care and for their health know, advocating for them that it’s hard to then reach that point where, Releasing them and, and letting go and letting the journey come to an end. I think it can be really tough.
[00:07:36] Nanette Holloway: yes, yes, it is.
[00:07:39] Rayna Neises: So what is one of the things that surprised you most about caregiving?
[00:07:45] Nanette Holloway: Oh, well, it was certainly exhausting [00:07:49] Nanette Holloway: and the, I think the anticipatory grief, it was just always there. Anticipatory grief is what we feel when we anticipate that somebody is going to be leaving us. But that was ever present during my season with my dad. And I think it was, I think it made the caregiving more difficult because every time I there was decline, it was like, oh no.
[00:08:19] You know, you kind of brace yourself for the end and my dad was kind of like the ever ready bunny. He just kept, he would rally. It’s like, okay, this is the end. He would rally again and it was great that he did rally. But you’re, you’re on an emotional roller coaster during this time, [00:08:40] Nanette Holloway: you just have to hang on. And you’re right. Depend on God because there is nowhere else to go.
[00:08:46] Rayna Neises: Yeah, I think that’s a good picture that that emotional rollercoaster, because the ups can be really up and then the downs are surprising. I mean, you know, you’re going up, but you kind of aren’t sure when you’re gonna go down and that can be so difficult that. Never knowing the up and the down and like you said, anticipating, know, will this be it every time?
[00:09:07] It’s just such a hard, hard thing. So that is definitely, I think one of the things that’s challenging is that anticipatory grief, I. I know with both of my parents having a terminal illness like Alzheimer’s, you don’t really know what the road looks like. And I was surprised to learn that the number of people that actually make it to the end of Alzheimer’s fetal state, you know, really what you hear of is pretty small, that rather other things come in and interfere. And, and both of my parents actually, know, were walking and talking gibberish, but talking, my mom lost her ability to talk really early, but know, walking around, talking within a month of their passing. And so it’s really difficult to know, know, what that’s gonna look like because if you just follow all the stages, we’re gonna get to the on stage, right? [00:09:57] And it’s gonna look like this. And actually it didn’t, so, And I’m sure the same thing with cancer
[00:10:02] Nanette Holloway: Yeah, I think being a nurse, you know, I kind of, I knew it was gonna be bad, you and but I didn’t, but then again, you didn’t really don’t know how bad. It’s different when it’s your loved one that you’re taking care of. It’s so different from taking care of someone that you’re, you know, you can have compassion for the one that you. [00:10:24] That you really don’t know and you can journey with them, but when it’s your parent it, it’s a different story. I, it was for me.
[00:10:33] Rayna Neises: Yeah. Yeah, I agree. I think anytime, especially as a professional, I’m sure anytime it’s personal, it does. It’s almost like this war between your head and your heart and that you know all these things intellectually, but your heart’s like, but this is my daddy. You know, so I’m there is lot of that.
[00:10:49] Nanette Holloway: And, and know, there’s, you’re still. Their child you’re, I, there were times that I, do we ever grow up, you know, our parents, you know, I don’t know. I think there’s an element of I was still a daddy’s girl, you
[00:11:06] Rayna Neises: Mm-hmm. Definitely totally relate. [00:11:09] Nanette Holloway: Yeah.
[00:11:11] Rayna Neises: So you’ve talked before, but is there one specific way you’d like to share how God showed up for you in your caregiving?
[00:11:17] Nanette Holloway: Yes. In the morning. Well I had never been much of a morning person at this time. And I started getting up and having a quiet time, and I think it was the first time I really felt God’s presence. It was very, pronounced and very almost dramatic. But God would show up in the morning and I had a, like an hour’s worth of quiet time with him and his Holy Spirit just flooded me. [00:11:57] And then we made it through the day, and by the end of the day, the grace was over. then I had to get up in the morning and, get my cup filled again.
[00:12:09] Rayna Neises: New mercies in the morning. Yeah.
[00:12:11] Nanette Holloway: Yes. So, yes. And God was really faithful. And that really galvanized my faith, I think. I think I knew at the end of, at the end of my caregiving season, I knew that God would never leave me nor forsake me. I, I knew that.
[00:12:29] Rayna Neises: Yeah, there’s a point in which some journeys in life brings something so deep within us that no matter what comes next, we’ll never let go of that truth.
[00:12:39] Nanette Holloway: Yes.
[00:12:40] Rayna Neises: It’s beautiful. So what’s one thing that helps you live? Content, love well, and care without regrets.
[00:12:49] Nanette Holloway: I tried to go by a mindset with others of love and acceptance. People are who they are. God made them who they are. I’m not gonna change ’em and, but I can love them. I can love them the way they are, and I can choose what areas that I wanna give to them. And what areas that I want to help them in, like in their caregiving season or just whatever but it’s accepting them as they are, I think. And, you know, of course that’s God’s love. You know, I, it’s nothing that I really do on my own, but through God’s spirit.
[00:13:36] Rayna Neises: Yeah, that’s beautiful and not easy. So [00:13:42] Rayna Neises: there seems to be times in life where know, different people come into your life that he just reminds you of, that it’s love and accept. That’s beautiful. So what’s one last thing you’d like to share with other caregivers and nugget wisdom that you’ve learned?
[00:13:58] Nanette Holloway: Well, I think it’s really good to go into your caregiving season to give yourself lots of grace.Caregiving is messy. It looks messy. It is messy. There’s lots of emotions and people don’t feel good. Like with my dad, I took it so personal that he was angry all the time. Well, he probably just didn’t feel good, but I was young enough that I took it personally. [00:14:34] I’m older now and I probably wouldn’t do that now, but I just realized that, they still love you, your loved ones, even though possibly emotions are running high. And hang on to the good moments. Maybe you can make a memory page or something with your loved one’s photo and some kind of a memory scrapbook during your caregiving season that might be beneficial. And but give yourself grace and, and don’t go into that False guilt. I think sometimes we feel guilty for things that are just so far beyond our control and I think if you could just stop yourself from going into that guilt, just stop yourself, step back and say, this is a difficult situation. [00:15:40] And everyone is doing their best today, that it’s probably gonna be easier on you.
[00:15:47] Rayna Neises: Very wise words, every year I choose a word and the Lord brought me the word grace one year while I was caregiving for my dad, and immediately in my mind I thought, okay, I need to have grace for everyone else. You know, I need to have grace with this person I’m interacting with. That’s not doing what I need them to do.
[00:16:03] Or I need to have grace with the person who’s slowing me down when I’m trying to get where I’m going. All of those things. But the Lord really helped me turn around and put that mirror to myself as well, and challenge me to have grace for myself.
[00:16:14] Nanette Holloway: Wow. Wonderful. Yes.
[00:16:16] Rayna Neises: yeah, it is so important and it’s not easy. It’s not natural to extend grace to other people or to ourselves, so I love that.
[00:16:25] Nanette Holloway: True.
[00:16:26] Rayna Neises: Well, thank you so much, Nanette, for being here with us today. It’s just been wonderful to be able to visit with you and share some stories with our audience.
[00:16:33] Nanette Holloway: Yes. Thank you for having me, Rayna.
[00:16:37] Rayna Neises: Listeners, thank you for joining us today for Stories of Hope from Nanette. This episode has been brought to you by Content Magazine, an electronic quarterly magazine available to help you find God in the middle of your caregiving season. Stories like Nanette’s are available to help you see yourself and know that God is there with you in the middle of your season. Take a moment, take that deep breath. Find him and then jump back into your caregiving season refreshed and ready to go. It’s available now at contentmagazine.online.
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