Greetings one and all…
Looks like the groundhog’s prediction of 6 more weeks of winter is accurate. A storm brought 4 inches of snow to Denver yesterday as well as frigid temperatures —a whopping 9 degrees this morning! A bit nippy for my taste. However, the sun is shining and warmer temps are in the forecast. A good thing indeed.
With Valentine’s Day today, love is in the air! All kinds of advertisements remind us to express our love in sweet and wonderful ways. Roses. Chocolates. Champagne. A delicious dinner. Time to BE with each other. On this special day, we embrace unique and meaningful ways to express our love and gratitude for one another.
Like most people, I enjoy the “special” expressions of love on Valentine’s Day. But in all honesty, we demonstrate our love for each other in amazing ways throughout the year. Granted, there may not be as much hype and glitz around the every day, ordinary displays of love. However, I think it is our ordinary, naturally occurring interactions that are the truly EXTRA-ordinary testaments of devotion, commitment, and love. Every day and in every way, we show the depth of our love in how we care for each other.
Every week when I am out and about in the community presenting programs on various facets of caregiving, I am privileged to meet courageous and compassionate caregivers and care receivers. Often, their stories are both heartbreaking and heartwarming. As I listen, I hear love articulated and described in very different ways compared to romantic love. This is love in the trenches of caregiving—messy, tested, tough, and enduring. Loving care. What loving care lacks in glitz and glamour, it makes up for in essence and grit. Loving care is displayed by large and small gestures:
- Showing up and sharing the journey
- Listening to the hopes and the fears of another
- Being a non-anxious presence when life seems chaotic
- Offering a gentle touch and a soothing word
- Laughing to alleviate overwhelming stress
- Praying for wisdom and strength to take the next step
- Mourning what has been lost
- Giving thanks for sacred moments shared
- Advocating for the best care possible
- Adapting to changing wants and needs
- Committing to complete the journey
- Being gentle with ourselves and others
I invite you to reflect on your experiences as a caregiver and/or care receiver. What does loving care look like in your world? A cup of hot tea? A warm blanket? A knowing smile? It’s important to recognize the signs of loving care and to acknowledge the importance of those signs. It’s also important to say, “Thank you.” The journey of caregiving requires so much of us on a daily basis. Consequently, it’s essential to remember the “why” of what we do—loving care. Some days you will be the recipient of loving care. Other days, you will be the provider. It is through this intentional exchange of gifts that we can support each other one step at a time. Loving care—something to be celebrated and embraced EVERY day of the year. LOVE-ly…….
I look forward to the ongoing conversation. If you have specific questions or concerns related to your caregiving experience, I would love to hear from you. Until the next posting, I wish you and yours countless blessings…jane
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