caring can make you sick

heard a story this morning about folks caring for aging/ill parents, which detailed how care giving can be "bad for your health".

but what wasn't talked about--and i automatically wondered--was how much of that has to with people's feelings of isolation in the absence of the communal/societal support necessary to care for elders and children (see: sandwich generation).

obviously, if you're worried about losing your job while trying to take care of a sick parent and raise your own babies--and this is in no way your professional training or spiritual calling--that's going to cause skyrocketing stress levels. 

i also supposed that this is what happens when a culture that centers extreme individualism, independence, and youth worship finds itself having to care for vulnerable elders.

hell, why this is a problem at all, considering the constant posturing around heteronormative, patriarchal "family values"?  folks trying to keep the good ol' nuclear family together ought to be getting a bonus check in the mail, right?

problem is, we fight to keep people alive or force them into being born without truly understanding or respecting the cycles of life, death, and rebirth--both personally and spiritually.  then we refuse to talk about universal health care while clicking our teeth and sighing at "those poor people" we see profiled in these stories.

when are we going to learn we can't have our cakes and eat them too?

losing your job around caring for a loved one should never be a concern. family medical leave is a start, but obviously it's not enough.

we should be identifying people who want to be caregivers, nurses, personal aides, and home care professionals, and uplifting those careers as viable options over a variety of educational levels. these workers deserve to be able to unionize and earn fair wages.  they should also be trained as models of healthy self-care practices.

i don't know how to change societal attitudes around life/death/rebirth except to say that many non-western european and pre-christian spiritual systems appear to do a much better job of dealing with it.  i encourage folks to research the practices of their ancestors to see what wisdom you can gain there.  take the science as far as it goes, then allow the spirit to do its work.

finally, we need universal health care. period. the piecemeal laws and "protections" aren't cutting it.  without full access to care from womb to tomb and a legion of skilled medical professionals, we're shooting ourselves in the proverbial foot.  we cannot compete with the rest of the world's productivity, creativity, intelligence and innovation in our current state.  our omnipresent stressors and distractions around our general well being are major parts of the problem.  that said, we must include "alternative", holistic health professionals in this vision, not just allopathic doctors.

i don't understand why this is so hard.

no. wait. of course i do.

what i'm not sure about is how to dismantle the system in ways that protect the people it hurts the most.

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