Labyrinths have been used as sacred symbols and rites in cultures since ancient times. It is not a maze, rather labyrinths guide us around sharp twists and turns from a beginning to an end and back again. As we approach these sharp turns, it appears as if a wall is there to stop us right up until we enter a turn to go around it. Then we walk another path which we can see up until the next seemingly impassable wall.
Sheehy’s thesis, based upon her own caregiving experience and interviewing countless others, is that caregiving is a labyrinth with its twists and turns symbolizing transitions in various stages of caregiving from time of diagnosis to end of life and mourning.
The next time I walk a labyrinth, Sheehy’s perspective will be present in my thoughts and I look forward to what reflections come to mind as I walk. Have you walked a labyrinth? What has the experience been like for you?