Will your nest never be empty?
If that’s not you, do you know someone who is in that situation?
Something that isn’t often talked about is the experience where you will never have an “empty nest.” The never-empty nest occurs when we have a child that is not able to leave the home or a child that needs care for the rest of their life. This reality can be so challenging to adjust to when you have to process (and grieve) that life may look different than you expected or very different than those around you.
For this episode, I’m joined by two moms, Connie DeRosa and Kim Cusimano, who both have children that need long-term care. If you are someone who has just learned that your child will need long-term care, have been living this out for a while, or someone who wants to know how they can best help families who have experienced this, today’s conversation is one you don’t want to miss.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How we can care for ourselves while being a caregiver to others
- Where faith fits into this journey
- The challenges that come with caring for your child long-term
- What it looks like to grieve the loss of a life journey you were expecting
- How the church can step in and serve families navigating long-term care for their children
This episode was such an encouragement to me as I navigate supporting my own special needs child who is on disability. I hope it encourages you as well!
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Special Needs Parenting Magazine
- The Heart of the Caregiver Website
- Kim’s Website: Full Joy Ministries
- Follow Connie on Instagram
- Connie’s website
- Connect with Kim on Facebook
- No More Perfect Marriages Getaway Weekend (September 30-Oct 1, 2022)
- As a thank you for listening, get your 3 free eBooks.
My Key Takeaways:
1) Honestly acknowledge what you are feeling. It’s okay to feel sad or grieve the life that you expected to be living. As a parent, you may be feeling like you have lost some freedom, you may be grieving the situation your children are in, or you may feel sad about the things that they will never be able to do. Whatever you may be feeling, it’s important to be honest about what you are going through in order to process those emotions honestly and accurately.
2) People that are vulnerable are worth caring for. Jesus loves our kids. Period. If they need to rely on someone else for their basic needs, their value is not changed. God has put us in the position where our role is to help them accomplish God’s plan for their life; they cannot do that on their own. There will absolutely be hard days, but this perspective can help us remember that it truly is worth it.
3) Release yourself from the guilt of taking time to care for yourself. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking time for yourself. What you are doing is difficult and it will take a toll on you. I appreciated Connie and Kim’s reminder that every moment your child is resting doesn’t have to be spent catching up on chores or checking one more thing off the to-do list. Find ways to create pockets of refuge and breaks in your daily schedule so that you are able to continue caring for your child effectively.
About Connie and Kim:
For the past 38 years, Connie DeRosa has helped her son, John Mark, navigate his life with the dual diagnosis of DiGeorge Syndrome and Spina Bifida. As a single Mom and his primary caregiver, she has faced the medical challenges presented to him with the determination to provide appropriate medical care while allowing him to thrive in the midst of his young adult life. Connie is also the mother of a young adult daughter. She serves her church family, Bethel Chandler in Arizona, as a women’s Life Group leader, where she most recently led a support group for caregivers and mothers of special needs children.
Kim Cusimano is a wife, mother of four, writer, and teacher. As a mother to two special needs, young adults, she is driven by a passion to encourage everyone around her to live fully in light of their God-given potential. With her background in teaching and homeschooling, Kim has insight to share with special needs families navigating school years and steps behind. You can find her online at fulljoyministries.com.
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This was an outstanding discussion. So much wisdom shared! You are each more beautiful in the broken places. That imagery around helping your special needs child live out his/her God-given purpose….powerful! Thank you, ladies!
It was a RICH discussion. So glad you appreciated it too, Lori!
Thank you for this encouraging episode! I love the reminder that we are privileged to serve and aide our adult child in accomplishing the purpose our precious Lord has called them to. I, too, am changed by my daughter’s ministry! She is my hero. May the Lord bless each of you and your families.
Sindy, we are so grateful this was helpful to you!
As a family thrust into caregiving of our 24 year old daughter after a cancerous brain tumor surgery left her with disabilities, this has been such a breath of fresh air! THANK YOU for sharing your wisdom with those of us a little further behind on the road God has placed us.
Pat, what a beautiful gift this had to be for you. Just knowing you’re not alone and where to find the encouragement you will need is so important!