Tag Archives: caregiver respite

Independence Day for Caregivers

Our loved ones rely on us. We want to be there for them, but caregivers need some independence, too. I’m not asking for fireworks and cannons. An hour laughing with friends can feel revolutionary. Can someone help you enjoy a bit of precious liberty?

Between the Pond and the Woods


My sister is the hero who allowed me to reclaim some independence. She’s stepped in on key occasions to help provide needed respite. Two weeks ago I was able to spend a day in New York City for the annual Yoga in Times Square celebration. This is the second year I’ve gone to NYC on the Summer Solstice to throw my yoga mat down in the middle of one of America’s busiest streets. The photo above shows the marquee of One Times Square, where the ball drops to mark the start of each New Year. On the Solstice, the City of New York blocks streets around the Square so thousands of people can practice yoga with others arriving from all parts of the world.

Although the Solstice fell two weeks before the Fourth of July, that day felt like my own personal Independence Day. The night before the solstice, my sister drove to my house to serve as temporary caregiver for my mom. I drove away early on Sunday morning and travelled two hours to the city. There were no traffic problems and I found a free parking space on a street in mid-town Manhattan. I felt like I’d won the lottery. My yoga class was wonderful and I got to visit some New York friends I rarely get to see.

Doing yoga with thirty thousand other people may not seem like the right kind of break for you. In fact, it may not sound relaxing at all. But I assure you that my single day of liberty re-charged me fully — on the physical and emotional level. I returned to my caregiver duties feeling much stronger and more compassionate. I hope that you can identify a sibling, a cousin, or a friend who can help you have your own Independence Day. Find someone you can trust who can give you the minimum break needed to restore your strength and enhance your ability to deliver care. You deserve fireworks and cannons, too, but if you keep your request low-key, you may find you don’t need that other stuff.

Respite for Caregivers

During the long, cruel winter, caregivers in my region wore themselves out. Thank goodness we live in a place that spoils us with abundant spring beauty. Here are some gifts of the season found Between the Pond and the Woods. 

Between the Pond and the Woods

Daffodils in the wild

Other places in Pennsylvania warm up early and their plants are way ahead of ours. This region — the Poconos — lies at a higher altitude. Flowers open later here. We’re just beginning to see daffodils and hyacinths.

Between the Pond and the Woods

Weeping willow near our stream

Even the trees around here take their time pushing leaves out. Weeping willows (above) are the first to show some green. But the woods in Hickory Run State Park (below) still look pretty bare.

Between the Pond and the Woods

The winter freeze and thaw cycle was unrelenting. It uprooted many trees in our forests. You can see, above, how the roots of the tree lost their hold in the earth and just gave up. Don’t follow their example. Reach for the things that give you strength and hold on!

Between the Pond and the Woods

When trout season arrives, fishermen approach their hobby with great focus and lots of equipment. Anglers love the Lehigh River and its tributaries. This photo was taken along the banks of the Lehigh Gorge Trail. Our streams are running fast with spring rain and snow melt. Fish and fishermen are pleased.

Between the Pond and the Woods

All these little signs of beauty help restore my sense of optimism.  Being a caregiver can drain my strength. But nature is a great healer, especially at this time of year. If you can’t get out for a walk yourself, I hope you get a little boost from these photos.