This is a note of thanks. I am a woman in my early 50s, experiencing a rough patch in my family. Just to give you the scope of what I deal with, my husband has early onset Parkinson’s. My youngest son has learning disabilities. He has been struggling with college courses, low self-esteem and depression. My mother suffers from moderate dementia – she is in assisted living and I know I will need to move her soon.
The theme for National Family Caregivers Month is Respite: Care for Caregivers. It's a universal theme. Each of us has been a caregiver, needed a caregiver or loved someone who was a caregiver at some time in our lives.
When I think of family caregivers, what pops to mind is what I call the oxygen mask speech. Before taking off for a flight on a commercial airplane, passengers are given instructions by a flight attendant who tells them that if the air pressure in the cabin changes for any reason, an oxygen mask will be released to each person.
Passengers who are flying with small children or people who would need assistance in putting on the masks are told that it's important for them to put on their own masks before assisting the other person.
Well, folks, among other things, it's National Caregiver Month. (Yes, I know, too many of these special, topic driven 'days', 'weeks' and 'months' can addle the brain. Who can keep up? Who even wants to?)
But sometimes – like this time, National Caregiver Month - it's a really good idea. I know so many people taking care of a loved one (and even a not-so-loved one, truth be told!) in rough circumstances. It's a mother, a spouse, a child or a friend – who's sick with acute or chronic disease; or who's disabled, demented, or depressed.
And these responsible, unstinting caregivers do the right thing and look after them, day after day, with kindness and care; and a lot of time, effort and energy. It's usually at considerable personal cost.
This lovely note is a great reminder of how important self care is for those giving care to others, and what an important part mind-body resources like guided imagery can play in delivering self-nurturing during a difficult and exhausting time....
My headphones and Tablet with your programs became as vital a part of my travel kit as my toothbrush and plane ticket as I raced back and forth the 600 miles from his place to mine.
He passed away a year ago and your meditation on grief was a vital part of my healing.
So often, it seems, caregivers believe that caring for themselves will somehow deprive their loved one of care. Of course just the opposite is true!