As we are quickly approaching the Christmas holidays, I am confronted with my grief. I think of the trips I made, the food I ate, and the holidays I shared with my dad. For the past two years, it had been just my mom, dad, and my two border collies. I am divorced with no kids. So, gift-giving hasn't been a big deal. But cooking has always been special for us. We always made a special meal. The past two years,
due to Covid, as well as my dad's health condition were different with no traveling to Maine to visit my brother. It was stressful because of our daily caregiving duties.
My dad always loved food. My mom even joked that it came before sex! He was an amazing cook. He could cook anything from Chinese (as he was half) to Indian, African, Italian, French, American, and everything in-between. The picture on the left was one of the last pictures I have of him cooking.. He instilled in both myself and my brother the love of both eating great food, and cooking it.
This year, sadly will be without my dad, as he passed away in mid-September. We will be making the trip to Maine to spend with my brother's family. And I know the trip will be so different, without the difficulties and joys of traveling with my dad, who had Lyme disease. My brother, is also a great cook so hopefully, we can create some new traditions and eat some great food. He is missed every day!
For those that are traveling, please use compassion to your fellow travelers. Give a greeting or a hug to those that are having a hard time. You may not know what they endured this year, or what they are going through. Don't just say, "I will pray for you." I know there are people who just aren't sure what to say or do. Instead, ask them, "How can I support you in this difficult time?" Tell them that you are thinking of them. Sometimes, it is just better to have someone listen. One of my best friends told me that he isn't great at talking but he is a great listener. And he is! What a gift he gave me by letting me talk (or text) my words out! Another friend sent me a card right after my dad passed and another for Christmas. The cards were so heartfelt....knowing that this is a difficult time for me.. I also saw this and think it is perfect....
Caregivers are on all of the time. They don't get to take a day off....until it ends. And then there is grief. Sometimes it is difficult moving from place to place. Don't assume you know what they are going through. Sometimes, things run smoothly. Sometimes caregivers get frustrated and need a break but don't get one because of circumstances. If you see a caregiver struggling, offer to give a hand and offer a hug and support. It will not be forgotten and will be appreciated. I was a caregiver for 10 years and there were times like these. We always knew when someone was a former caregiver by their knowledge and understanding.
So, I say this to my current caregivers....I see you. I know that you aren't just a caregiver. You might be an athlete, an artist, a musician, a friend, a sister, brother, etc., You are capable and are doing great things. I am here for you always.