Friday 19 February 2021

Ntl Caregivers Day: The Power of Words

February 19th is National Caregivers Day in the USA. For the occasion, I began to think about words that hold power when we say them and words that hold power for us when we hear them. 

We know that people we love and care for sometimes live with great suffering and fear. We can give comfort like no one else, because we know our loved ones so well. We can say...

You are safe. 

You are loved. 

I am right here beside you and I'm not leaving. 

The person we love will know that he or she is not alone and that they will be comforted throughout the uncharted waters of an illness journey. These words only have great power if they are spoken by a family caregiver. A stranger saying the same words will just be a stranger talking. 

What are the powerful words that WE need to hear on our darkest days of emotional and physical exhaustion?

I believe you. 

Let me help you. 

I see what you do every day. 

Here is dinner and a jug of margaritas (seriously!)

"I believe you" is a healing phrase for the heart of a caregiver who struggles to describe a new symptom or to communicate a mystifying reality of caring at home, alone. "Let me help you" are words we wish for every day. The offer of help without being asked is a great gift for anyone, but especially for caregivers. My sister had a health emergency in her family and I set up a website for her called Take Them a Meal. Friends could sign up to bring dinner any night of the week, indicate what food they proposed to deliver and then leave it on the porch in a cooler for the family. Everyone pulled out the stops for my sister - people delivered roasts and cookies, casseroles and cakes. But the best offering was "lobster enchiladas and a jug of margaritas." Something about that menu was so brazen and so delightful. It spoke to me of solidarity, optimism and determination. And those are just the things we need most in the thick of caregiving. 

Happy National Caregivers Day - I hope you hear some lovely words and feel the love of friends and family today. Remember that there are two people who need care in a caregiving relationship and one of them is you. If you are alone with your loved one, speak words of powerful comfort for both of you.

1 comment:

Dooky said...

very powerful