Sometimes caregiving is so ugly, it can be a challenge to find things that are positive. It can feel like you are wading in the muck. It can be hard to feel grateful for anything.
But here we are. It’s November and many are setting aside a moment or two to think about the people, objects, and places that gratify them.
This week, thanks to the fact that the entire world is listing out all the things that bring them joy and comfort, I have been thinking a lot about what makes me feel grateful when it comes to surviving my caregiving experience.
In the words of Dean Martin, “I’ve got plenty to be thankful for.”
In no particular order:
- I’m thankful that I can support Barbara Lynn and make decisions with little to no outside interference. I hear other caregivers struggling with siblings, stubborn parents, ignorant professionals, and so many others. Just as the old adage goes, “Too many cooks in the kitchen spoils the broth.” Same thing goes for caregiving, as well. Certainly everybody on the care team can have input, but when it comes to caring for a loved one… the person who bears the brunt of the responsibility of caring and the one who is receiving the care, should be the primary drivers of the care that is provided. Too often other members of the team who aren’t present each day and don’t perform any caregiving tasks have the most to say. What they eat doesn’t make you poop, honey! I’m so grateful that I don’t have to worry about what other people think, constantly look over my shoulder, be concerned about how so-and-so will react to XYZ matter or consult others before making decisions.
- I’m thankful for people who stick with you through thick and thin. Yes, there are still a few authentically good humans roaming the planet.
- We have been doing this Sidekick thing for three years now. Through it all, our last remaining Sidekick, Eileen, has been walking with us this entire time. In a world where most people are flakier than a puff pastry, Eileen is like a sweet slice of shortbread.
- Julie, who I partner with to handle our Sidekicks’ HR, worked hard to help us get this system established and she’s still with us today.
- My friend, Susan, has come through rescuing me, time and time again and she came through for me in a major way this year. I’m so grateful for dependable people.
- Even though she’s no longer with us in an official capacity, I’m thankful for my little cousin, Kyleigh, and the time she put in as a Sidekick. She held me down for a year and a half and I appreciate having her with us all that time.
- I’m thankful for clients that are compassionate and understanding. Over the past couple of months, I have been working hard in my personal life to adjust to being my grandma’s pretty-much-sole-caregiver, and my clients have all given me room to breathe while I navigate her decline and adapt. I’m so grateful I am self-employed.
- I’m thankful for hospice. Hospice is like a big, warm hug at the end of your caregiving journey. I have relied on them more and more as Barbara Lynn declines. I’m so grateful that I don’t have to go through this alone.
- On a lighter note, I’m thankful for YouTube. Seriously. A treasure trove of experiences lays waiting there. We sing hymns, birdwatch, travel to different places, tour tiny houses, witness Martha perform kitchen miracles, and watch one of Barbara Lynn’s all-time favorite shows, Lawrence Welk, day in and day out. Before I started using YouTube to find entertainment, TV was a source of dread for me. Barbara Lynn loves watching tv, but she can’t watch just anything anymore, including many of the shows she used to enjoy. I’m so grateful for this mindlessness tool.
- I’m thankful for this house. This house has been a sanctuary and a place of solace for me after what seems like years of chaos and constant noise. It was a perfect fit for all of us when we moved in… and even though it’s quite a bit emptier these days, I’m so grateful for the peace & quiet that I am able to enjoy here.
- I am thankful for my grandma. None of this would be possible without her. She has done so much for me. I am so happy we have this time to enjoy love and beauty and life together. I’m so grateful for my “life co-star.”
What are you grateful for these days? I’d love to hear from you. Drop your gratitude list in the comments 🥰👇🏼💬