November is National Family Caregivers Month. In this month when we give thanks, we also honor those who care for others. Caregivers don’t hear thank you enough, so let this be a “Thank You” to all the wonderful caregivers out there.
If you are reading this, it means you finally took a few minutes for yourself. I know it’s been a while since you’ve done that. I also know that it’s been quite some time since you’ve heard the words “thank you”.
I didn’t thank you when you left your career to be a full-time caregiver. I just felt relief that it wasn’t me putting my life on hold. I didn’t tell you how much I appreciated you when you had to miss your kids’ soccer games because Mom needed your help. I was just grateful that my kids had me.
I never told you how unselfish you were when you cancelled your vacation because Dad was recovering from a surgery. Instead, I sat on the beach with my family, and enjoyed my time to relax. I didn’t ever tell you how amazing you are at balancing all you do. I just thought about how I would do it differently.
I never told you that I am not brave enough to do what you do. I can hang up the phone, or come home from a visit and go about my life. You deal with the physical and emotional toll day in and day out with no complaint.
The truth is, I do see all that you do. I see what you have sacrificed, I see the exhaustion in your eyes, and I hear the worry in your voice. I know you are trying desperately to make all the moving parts work. I know you sometimes cry quietly, locked in the bathroom so no one will see your fears. You lay awake at night thinking not of your own dreams, but how to help Mom reach hers.
I am sorry I have been silent with my admiration and appreciation. The problem is I can’t imagine a truly appropriate way to show just how much I appreciate you. “Thank you” always seemed so little in comparison to all you do.
Then I realized, if I never say “thank you”, you would feel your job was small. If I never offered my hand for help, you would think you didn’t deserve a break. If I never offered my shoulder for support, you would have nowhere to lean.
Thank you for the amazing job you do. The selflessness of which cannot accurately be described. You don’t have to do this alone; I am holding my hand out offering you help. When it becomes overwhelming, my shoulder is right here, ready for you.
If I could bottle all the love and appreciation in the world, it still wouldn’t be enough for you, Caregiver. But I will try, and I will start with telling you: Thank You!
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