Watcher - Caregiver


For years I never considered that the label “Caregiver belonged to me. It seemed too formal, too restrictive, too important for what I did to help my chronically ill mum.

Hugs and housework and understanding.

Surely those didn’t deserve such a label?

Yet when my younger sister was diagnosed with a brain tumor and I spent every other day at the hospital and I cared for her in many physical ways from feeding to advocating for her with the pain team, I still didn’t feel this label belonged to me.

But I also felt I needed the help that a label brings. Without a label I did not have the words to share my story.

So I created a word. I called myself a Watcher and then I began to wonder if there were other Watchers out there.

Do you know someone who is struggling with a physical or mental illness? Have you ever stood by someone and felt utterly helpless? Do they have problems that you cannot take away, and health concerns you cannot fix?



If so, you are a Watcher. You are most likely also a Caregiver.

You wince as your loved one winces, you cry as they cry, and rejoice as they rejoice, but you cannot even walk a mile in their shoes.

We are the healthy ones. We have the world at our fingertips and often share none of their bodily restraints. Our burden is different. We walk beside them and try to communicate their ups and their downs to the people around us. Often we fail, because sometimes there are simply no words.

It is hard being a Watcher, my friends. It is lonely, because every illness is different. No situation is the same. All of us are Watchers, but all Watch alone.

This is why I started writing. There are two answers to such aloneness. One is community, the other is God.

We all long for someone to stand by our side and grasp our forearm and say with a knowing, quiet voice and full eyes, “I get it. I understand.”



Watching is a journey which goes on and on – and so encouragement is needed for the everyday. It is also a path which begins and ends, and so we need help for those times too.

Watching is also a quest which will at some point encounter God.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I am seeking them as I strive to live in the shadow of the Almighty.



I have no ‘five point plan’ for healing or even for peace, but I do pray my words will help you ponder your life as they have helped me ponder mine – and that your experience will be the richer for it.

I pray they will provide a feeble sense of community and a less feeble sense of God. Like C. S. Lewis wrote in Surprised by Joy, I have only, “… been emboldened to write of it because I notice that a man seldom mentions what he had supposed to be his most idiosyncratic sensations without receiving from at least one (often more) of those present the reply, ‘What! Have you felt that too? I thought I was the only one.’” 

 *First published at **Republished with permission.


Caregiver - Watcher

by Emily Maurits | Read by Emily

More Posts by Emily

Emily J. Maurits

Emily J. Maurits

Chronic Joy® Contributing Writer

After working for several years in the public health sector, Emily is now studying theology. She believes we are all called to love suffering people, because that's what Jesus did. She is passionate about equipping and encouraging others to do just that, and founded for the family and friends of those with chronic illnesses. As well as uncovering God's presence in the chaos of life, she enjoys reading, running and writing, with her memoir coming out next year.


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Caregivers walk their own unique path through chronic illness. A caregivers role can be both rewarding and exhausting, difficult and joy-filled, meaningful and frustrating, isolating and inspiring. Wherever you are on the journey, we’re so glad you’re here! Step into hope, find purpose, embrace worth, and encounter God’s joy.



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Encourage and inspire others by putting #PenToPaper with one (or more!) of our creative notecard or postcard collections. How about tucking one of our professionally printed guides in the envelope?

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