Family support means the world to me as I strive to take care of my mom. Yesterday I was lucky to have many family members come to offer their support and love to mom and our household. There was a period in my life when I didn’t fully grasp the value of these moments. Thank goodness my eyes are now open.
Family support for caregivers is essential. Taking care of a sick person can drain your spirit, even when you take care of yourself and protect your health. Over the past few weeks, I’ve suffered from strained back muscles and general fatigue. Yet for months I’ve been dreaming of a big fall equinox party with a bonfire under a bright moon. It took a lot of effort, but we managed to have this gathering yesterday. We celebrated my mom’s tremendous ability to survive and be happy despite advanced dementia.
It was so touching to see aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends, and children come together for this all-day affair. We had to do it before the cold weather kills our petunias and steals our leaves. Everyone shared food and drinks, stories and tears. It was such a special occasion. The last time we gathered like this, my mom pretended to sleep. Now we’ve learned how to manage my mom’s “tricks” so she can connect with people who travelled far to spend time here. It was beautiful to see her hold her sister’s hand, laughing at the sound of a familiar voice.
I think it’s very possible that life is best savored through occasions when everyone can share their gifts (emotional and material) with loved ones. Caregivers are tired and overwhelmed as a group. We do too much; we can’t manage everything. When family members have a chance to offer their love and support, it’s almost better than a vacation. They leave an echo of their energy behind them. That feeling can sustain us during the next period of exhausting effort. I can still see the smiling faces and remember the glow of the campfire under the moonlight. Even the most difficult struggles have their moments of bliss. Tomorrow I’ll toil, but today I rest on the strength of what others have brought to us.