Over time, it seems that some of our most profound lessons come from being there for people in ways we never imagined. During six years of helping my parents, every day taught me something new about myself, my family, my friends, or just human nature, in general. Of course, the fact that it wasn’t always pretty would be an understatement.
I discovered that being brave can mean just getting up in the morning; that being stubborn is actually a strength when you’re dealing with a flawed medical system; and that feeling resentful sometimes is perfectly normal because, guess what – we’re only human.
The responsibilities of caregivers are so profound, yet we often hold ourselves up to impossible standards while ignoring the valuable gifts that each of us bring to the table. So, how about taking a break from the holiday hustle to spend a few minutes exploring a prompt I gave my writer’s group for caregivers earlier this year; one that turned into a much-needed affirmation for all of them.
Jot down two or three words that describe you best. Here’s a link if you need help coming up with some traits: https://bit.ly/2RuGKKG. Consider how each of these qualities has shaped your experience of providing care, and write a sentence or two about each one.
Below are a few examples from my own list, and if you’re open to it, please share what you’ve written.
Wishing everyone moments of peace this holiday season.
Humorous: Finding the funny during tough times has often saved me and the people I love, when nothing else could. That was never more clear to me than when I spent a morning planning my mom’s funeral with her help, and a little Barbara Streisand music.
Outspoken: Pretty much what you “see” is what you get with me. A mouthy straight-talker, I believe that caregiving is hard work, even when performed with great love, and we need to speak openly about the challenges as well as the joys.