A neighbor’s cheery pot of flowers.
Some Sundays my topic’s focus is much like my dear hubby’s beef stew—or chicken soup. Today is one of those Sundays.
But what does that mean? First of all, his chicken soup is fabulous—always. However, this blog may not reach his soup standard, but I’ll do my best. 😉 Besides the staple of chicken, his soup can and will contain a variety of different ingredients depending on his mood, the time of year, the state of wilting veggies in our fridge.
The same pattern holds true for his beef stew. Beef predominates. But sometimes several different cuts of beef comprise the protein, especially if we have tidbits of steak or roast left from an earlier meal. In that case, we could refer to those meaty leftovers as gallimaufry. That fun word means leftovers which in the stew would be those beef cuts.
We’ll today’s post isn’t about leftovers so much as a mélange of assorted bits and pieces, a farrago of sorts—of newsy tidbits enhancing today’s main theme. (I was having fun this morning finding synonyms)
A butterfly bush–if you plant it , they will come.
I suspect all of you know the term. You’ve likely filled the role willingly or not for someone you care about.
However, for most of us the term caregiving might incorporate a mélange of duties done by one or several people who may have a broad range of necessary skills to care adequately for someone requiring help. This aid might range from minimal, such as–let’s say–driving someone whose dwindling eyesight means he or she no longer has a driver’s license to someone who needs assistance in all areas of life in order to stay alive.
I’ve been in caregiving situations which encompassed all these elements. I’ve friends who started out as caregivers to a spouse or family member who required just a bit of help at first. Through the months or years that help increased in what must be done and how often. As the needs increase, the caregiver expends more physical and emotional energy, sometimes to the point they might be near burn-out or become ill themselves.
Caregivers need care themselves. Too often, the ones they care for haven’t the capacity, the patience, or the ability to see beyond their needs to extend a “thank you” or an “I appreciate what you do for me” statement. Illness and severe disability can rip interpersonal skills and relationships to tatters scattered around the emotional environment in which they exist.
In the best of times caregiving is not easy. Often it is not fun. Always it is demanding and requires an acceptance of responsibility few who take it on realize when they accept the caregiving challenge. The longer the caregiving lasts the more likely the caregiver becomes aware of how much life has changed. The more they need to take care of themselves.
Thank goodness for neighbors who have flowers
I know this from experience. Thus I try to reach out to others I know are caregivers to offer encouragement. Listen to their worries, their woes, their frustrations. Often their days are a hodgepodge of highs and lows, anger and stress, tenderness and love. Some days, months, maybe years, one of these emotions or feelings predominates. If the feeling is negative, life gets tough. Then tougher. Almost too difficult to keep going.
But the wonderful trait most caregivers have is they do keep going. Like energizer bunnies. They realize perhaps that they may be the one cared for at some future time. They hope their generosity of spirit will be reciprocated with a good caregiver. Maybe they store up memories of what made them feel good and bad as caregivers so they won’t repeat that if such time comes for them.
In the meantime, if you are in a caregiving position now, I salute you. I hold you in my thoughts. I send a wish that you will always find the strength to carry on. Because some days that’s not easy.
If you aren’t a caregiver, but know others who are, reach out to them. Listen to them. Or maybe just tell them “You’re doing a great job.”
As I said, I’m a caregiver—have been for 18 years—but these past few years life has gotten much more difficult for many reasons. But this week my spirit lifted when my nephew and his son and daughter called me. They were on their boat and sailing past our place. They wanted to let me/us know they were thinking of us and wanted us to see them wave. We did.
Just a little thing really. But it meant a lot.
This morning’s sunrise 5:15. The heat and humidity are building
Oh, and today my first Sunday Morning With column ran in our local paper. I’ve already had an appreciative email about it. 🙂
And Thursday, I hit the PUBLISH button for Better Than Dessert to go to print.
Last evening hubby and I joined a few friends for dinner at a favorite restaurant. Great food, great time, a break in the routine.
All of these last items help us keep up the good fight.
I’m pumped and ready for the week, are you?