Giving Thanks for Family Caregivers

The holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas are fast approaching. This time of year can cause mixed feelings for those of you who have a loved one living with dementia. It’s very common for caregivers to experience a sense of loss for the way things used to be.
Cornucopia
It’s also easy to feel guilty about what we think we “SHOULD” do, or how we think we “SHOULD” feel. You don’t need to burden yourself with these negative thoughts. Get rid of the “Should’s!”

Instead, take a few moments to quiet your thoughts, close your eyes, and picture in your mind’s eye, what qualities you would like to experience this busy season.

Feel yourself radiating with positive energy. Feel a new vitality entering your mind and body, opening up space for compassion, for strength, for patience, for joy, as you continue in your caregiving role. To the world you are one person, but to your loved one, you are the world. Repeat this mantra during the holiday season: “I am a gift to my loved one, and I have gifts to share.”

Family caregivers are dedicated people, and for those loved ones of yours who are unable to thank you themselves, I composed this litany. May it bring comfort to you and give you a sense of what gifts you share day in and day out, not just at the holiday time! May you and your loved ones have a Blessed, Peaceful, and Joyous Thanksgiving!

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A Litany in Thanksgiving for My Beloved Caregiver

My dearest one,

My disease may be at the stage where I can’t remember any more to say how much I love you, or thank you for your dedication in taking care of me.
So here is a litany of all the things I would tell you this holiday season, if only I could.
For encouraging me to do what I’m still capable of doing and not be condescending,…Thank you!
For distracting me in a gentle way when I do something that embarrasses you in public,…Thank you!
For patiently answering my questions, and never saying, “I told you that already ump-teen times,”…Thank you!
For soothing and calming me when I am frightened,…Thank you!  

Mother and son holding hands

Mother and son holding hands

For holding me tight and caressing me when I am confused and scared,…Thank you!
For helping me retain my dignity and my sense of identity,…Thank you!
For spending time doing things that we enjoy together,…Thank you!
For all the little things you do to show you care that I may take for granted,…Thank you!
For forgiving me in those times I may unknowingly hurt you,…Thank you!
In my good days and in my horrible bad days,…Thank you!
Through my tears, my sadness, my pains, my joys, my laughter,…Thank you!
For letting me know you will keep loving me no matter what,…Thank you!
You are a GIFT to me, and I love you!

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A Meditation on Gratefulness
For a five-minute meditation on gratefulness, please watch “A Good Day.” The voice belongs to Brother David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, author, and spiritual leader. I hope this will make your day a joyful one: https://youtu.be/3Zl9puhwiyw.
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A Thanksgiving Song
Gregory Norbet was a Benedictine monk at the Weston Abbey, Vermont, when he composed and recorded this song, “All I Ask of You.” Take a few extra minutes today to listen to this hymn and reflect on the lyrics: https://youtu.be/LtikX0fmCpY.
I think it is a great song for Thanksgiving.

Comments

  1. says

    Vicki,

    Another excellent blog! My sister, Phyllis, who cares for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s, especially loved it and it gave her new energy. She thinks all caregivers should read it – and she is a nurse. She shared it with her daughter who is also a nurse. You “hit a home run” for her….it’s also great how you have been integrating the seasons and now the holidays with your postings. Also, utilizing music, spirituality as well as creative and practical relaxation methods…

    Hope your Thanksgiving has been a good one….Peace
    Fr. Tom recently posted…Giving Thanks for Family CaregiversMy Profile

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