Mondays with Mom: Caregivers

This weekend was District 14’s Honors Chorus event at Brenau University. I love these events; not only do I get to make beautiful music with my music peers and lots of kids, but I get to reconnect with old friends.

I was struck by how many of us are now caregiving in some way or form. Many of my friends are young and have small children with all the demands of that stage of life: school, extracurricular activities, chauffeuring, runny noses, stomach bugs, etc. Others, like me, are dealing with parents who need extra support. The most heartbreaking to me are those who are caring for spouses who are sick with cancer or other devastating diseases.

It made me start thinking about the act of caregiving itself. I have said over and over again in these articles how our caregiving team is so important and we would be lost without their assistance. Many of my friends don’t have caregiving support. For those with little ones, perhaps they have babysitters or grandparents nearby. I would imagine they still do 98% of the caregiving. I hope those with sick spouses have extended families or church families who assist when needed.

Caregiving is exhausting. The act itself dictates caring for someone else more than caring for oneself. We need encouragement and prayers. Help is wonderful, too, but be cautious about overwhelming an already tenuous situation. Food may be great if you know the family’s preferences or it may be just one more thing with which to cope. Yard work or assistance with house work may be welcome. Offer to help with specific chores.

Cards, calls, texts, and short visits may be the best assistance of all. Encouragement is in short supply for many caregivers and it’s so helpful to know someone is praying and caring enough to find a card, write a few words, put a stamp on it, and get it in the mailbox. It’s a simple enough task, but I know I struggle with those steps along the way. My favorite thing about cards is the rereading and retelling to Mom. She doesn’t remember the previous time, so it’s always a fresh reminder to her. To me, it reinforces the caring and concern over and over.

Encouragers are an important part of the caregiving team. In this way, we can all lift one another’s burdens. Paul wrote these words to the Ephesians, chapter 4 and verse 2:  “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”

For those who are caregiving, let’s help lift. Let us be “bearing with one another.”

(If you would like to send a message to Mom, her address is Ruth Bunn, P.O. Box 707, Clarkesville, GA 30523.)

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