I just went to my first support group meeting for caregivers of cancer patients. I was a nervous wreck. One by one, we drifted into the hospital meeting room, and made small talk to relieve some of the discomfort of being strangers. We negotiated seats at the table: not too close, not too far. I took the corner position closest to the door, for easy escape. I noticed that there was a full-length keyboard tray under the table surface–aha: a computer table–and stopped myself from pulling it out. That would make me the center of attention, not keep me invisible. I wanted to observe, not participate.
The facilitator sent around name tags. Someone said, “let’s label ourselves,” and my mind was off to the races with a feminist theory-inspired critique. The analytical side of my brain is a great protector against emotion–during and since the meeting, it has been ruminating insistently.
Continue reading Giving / caring for: caregiver?