November is National Caregiver Month. Here’s what that means to me – a mom, author, filmmaker, Alzheimer’s advocate and caregiver. It means that November is dedicated to all the caregivers who’ve stayed home for the last twenty-five Saturdays in a row, and to all the caregivers who’ve given up family vacations and going to the movies – ever. This “dedication” has been created for everyone who can’t remember the last time they read a book “just for fun,” and gone on a walk without checking the time, over and over. November is dedicated to all the caregivers who’ve slept on hard floors next to bedsides of the gravely ill, who’ve gone days without knowing what day it actually is, who’ve eaten meal after meal through a straw because they were too tired to cook for “two,” or just too tired to “chew.” To all the caregivers who have two inches worth of roots that need tending to, whose feet are in dire need of a pedicure and backs even more wanting for a massage; you are being thought of and prayed for extra hard this month. National Caregiver Month is for everyone who doesn’t know the last time they slept through the night or napped during the day. And it’s for all of you who seem to think that that’s okay because, “you took on this task.” And to all the caregivers who never have enough time, never enough time, never enough – and then lost their loved one…and now have nothing but time – you count, too. This month is for you.
I wrote in my memoir, As Nora Jo Fades Away, “Between my young, daughter, Jazz, my Tea Cup Poodle, Beau, and my gram, Miss Nora Jo, I haven’t peed alone since the summer of ’05.”
It’s been almost two years since Gram passed, and I’m here to tell ya, I still miss her. I miss my “entourage,” and I still get lonely (although, not so much when I’m peeing).
“Think. Breathe. Care.” That’s my message this month to all you fine caregivers. Yes, I know, many of you are thinking the message should read, “Think, Breathe, Care, Scream and Pull out Your Hair.” The thing is, I couldn’t fit all that on the shirt. Mostly, I want everyone to know that while you’re busy caring, there are tons of us out here rooting for you. Friends, siblings, neighbors, The Alzheimer’s Association, (me!) – we’re here to help! Just give a shout!
Think. Breathe. Care. Happy November.
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