By: Logan Greene, "Jacks Only" Private Facebook Group Admin
On April 1st of 2021, Jack's Caregiver Coalition made our Jack's Only Facebook group findable by the public. We made it so guys from around the world can find our group and request to join after we review their answers to a short questionnaire. Anyone who's been a caregiver for a loved one with a catastrophic illness, that identifies as male, is welcome. Becoming a full-fledged member of Jack's Caregiver Coalition is not required. We simply want to provide a space online for guys who've played the role of a caregiver, to interact with other guys who've played that role. Whether that interaction is posting, reading, liking, or commenting, all are welcome.
Guys are weird. Often keeping their true feelings and emotions covered in a façade of humor or stoicism. To society, guys need to hold it together. Guys are expected to have answers for the hard questions. Guys are expected to be the backbone of our families and communities. Guys keep a lot of our true emotions and fears to ourselves. Even when all that's holding us together is duct tape and chewing gum. Guys may find an escape in their work, a home project, and even the bottom of a bottle. Those are all just band aids. Those do not go to the root of any issue.
I found in my own journey as a caregiver that I wrestled with the dark more than anything. Not the dark as in the absence of light but the absence of hope. That absence of hope is extremely lonely. It is hard to see where you are going. In fact it is almost impossible. The Jack's Caregiver Coalition - Jacks Only group has been my Light.
The light gave me a place to share my fears, emotions, and questions. I knew I could ask them because I knew some of them were already exactly where I am. Many are already living my absolute worst nightmare. But there is hope. Now I don't mean there is hope for a full recovery for my wife's illness. That is not the kind of hope I mean. There is hope in a way forward.
Guys are unbelievably strong. Guys have to be. The moments we have where we can share our story in this group, the end result is always strength. Every single time I share a milestone or a speed bump in my wife's cancer journey, there are other guys waiting to share their support or their congratulations. Every single person is genuine in their thoughts. These guys give me strength to face whatever comes in this journey. I know I can handle whatever happens in my caregiving journey because I know other guys who are doing it right now.
All this support through a screen. Each time I log on and share, I feel like I am talking to them directly. Each time I read a post from another guy, it's if they are in the same room. In the midst of the pandemic, sometimes that was the only connection to the outside world I felt like people understand. Sure, everyone had a struggle during the pandemic but these guys knew all too well, what was going through our heads was a little different.
Unfortunately this path has been walked before. I could forge my own path, but just like hiking in the woods, I would most likely come out covered in cuts, ticks, and severely dehydration. This group provides me the map so I can charge forward with the wisdom that this group has already paved the way with so I can come out on the other side stronger. Still tired. Still in pain. but they'll help me make it through.