The care of terminally ill patients can be physically, emotionally as well as psychologically
exhausting. In the era where everyone is busy with his or her hectic daily schedule, caring
for someone diagnosed with HIV on her or his deathbed can be a daunting challenge. Caring
for someone dying of AIDS does not only challenge the physical being but rather leaves the
carer emotionally drained. What was of concern to the author was to see the struggle that the
caregiver goes through whilst caring for the sufferer. More often than not, pastoral care and
counselling concentrate mainly on the pain and the suffering of the sick person. In the process,
pastoral care loses sight of the agony, the emotional strain and, above all, the trauma of the
caregivers in their search for answers as they care for the infected. This scenario has prompted
the author to look into the theology of caring with an emphasis on pastoral care of the carers
with a view of alleviating their emotional burden in caring for the HIV patients.
This article has been adapted from L.J.S.’s (University of
Pretoria) PhD dissertation, which was completed under the
supervision of M.J.M. (University of Pretoria), South Africa.