-A +A

A Caregiver's Christmas List

by Ginnie Horst Burkholder

My Christmas list is short. Things, it seems, are what I have too much of. I can’t keep track of all mine, all his, and all ours. I am trying, not very successfully, to pare down the number of things that need organizing, dusting, fixing, storing, filing, displaying, accounting for, or maintaining. So, beyond my short list of things, my Christmas list is this:

I would like to have patience for all the times I need to stop what I am doing to focus on listening to and deciphering the vanishing voice of my husband. I need patience for finding the lost things: my glasses that show up on his face, his wallet that surfaces in his underwear drawer, his glasses that lived for weeks with his boots in the garage. Just wrap up patience and give it to me, please, with a bow that promises tranquility on those days when I seem to run out of the inner resources that being a caregiver requires.

I would like before-breakfast endurance. When I want only to put my feet to the morning floor and stretch toward the day, but need to bolt into attentiveness and vigilance to avoid messes, misses, and moroseness. Then I need endurance. When I get up in the morning and want to remember my dreams, but instead am instantly needed for untangling his day, that’s when I need endurance.

I would like to live with hope again instead of this gnawing knowing that nothing I do is going to bring back my husband’s vitality, and nothing is going to stop this slow shuffle of loss.

I fantasize that ABC would do a show called “Extreme Care for the Caregiver.” I see a crew of resources coming to the doors of caregivers and announcing, “help is on the way!” We caregivers are tired though, and most of us are old enough that we wouldn’t be able to jump up and down and scream our delight for the cameras. We could faint though.

Since no one can grant me the wishes on my list, and ABC is not at my door, I will ask for hugs. Nelson’s hugs are diluted by dementia and need, and his strong arms are weakened by disease. I miss those attentive hugs. Just give me hugs for Christmas, strong reassuring hugs that tell me someone close to me cares.

© 2007 Ginnie Horst Burkholder

To e-mail Ginnie about this story, click here.

 

Author: Ginnie | Cat: Ginnie's Journal | Time: 11:28 am (UTC+8) Comments (1)