I'm sure that as a caregiver you will relate to my experience of being in the liminal space; the space you're in when your loved one's sudden illness brings with it a state of loss, ambiguity, confusion and disorientation…that in-between stage.
My role as Family Caregiver was activated when my aged mother fell a month ago. As a consequence to her fall she started to present many symptoms that required medical attention. She is currently in hospital undergoing tests and getting some physiotherapy but she remains at a loss for a diagnosis and a plan of treatment.
My siblings and I are dedicated to her wellbeing and have been spending many hours daily at her bedside to serve as translators and care advocates. Being in a strange setting, having to undergo a multitude of tests and having to express her needs to different nurses every day, has caused her to be anxious, frustrated and restless.
As a family, we are facing uncertainty, ambiguity, restlessness, and fear at the thought that our mother’s lifestyle will be changed forever and that our own lives will be dramatically affected by her change in health.
Heather Plett (https://heatherplett.com) describes this space we are in, as the liminal space. She explains that when we are in the liminal space "we are between identities, between who we once were and who we are becoming, like the chrysalis stage between caterpillar and butterfly. It is the space between, when a trapeze artist let’s go of one swing and doesn’t yet know whether she’ll be able to reach the other swing".
In the article Grieving as Sacred Space, Richard Rohr describes liminal space as “…It is when you are in between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. It is no fun.”
Our mother was autonomous and has always been resilient and strong. To see her vulnerable, lost and troubled has ripped our hearts open. This new reality is requiring much more of us than we ever knew we had to give. It is taking courage, strength, positivism, time, presence, hope, LOVE and commitment to her and to ourselves.
I am blessed to have eight loving siblings, who are all there for one another and for our mother. We know how to hold space for each other in our most vulnerable moments because we are a tight team, open to unconditional support and compassion. We are willing to face whatever life has to offer in both, the painful and the joyous moments, with each other.
The understanding, that we are living the natural process of transformation called "liminal space", has brought a light of awareness and a light of insight that will carry us through this time of change with greater acceptance.