A letter from me
is on page two
of Willowgreen’s catalog,
mailed last week.
It includes a photo
of four generations.
This is some of what I wrote:
“The image you see here holds many associations for me. The baby is Grayson James, my grandson and namesake. We waited years for him to arrive. We came close to thinking he would never come to be. My daughter Christen holds Grayson. She’s a hospice chaplain. Last year she co-authored Willowgreen’s small book This Time of Caregiving with me. The older man is my father. He lived with my wife and me for a while. Recently he was in and out of various levels of nursing home care between hospitalizations….
“Caregiving circles around and around in this picture. I cared for Dad extensively in his final years. During the same period I cared excitedly for Grayson in his early years. Christen and I both do professional caregiving among our other duties, while being caring with one another as occasions call for it. Last year I underwent surgery myself and most everyone in our family cared for me as I healed, including Dad.
“I believe our family is as ordinary as anyone’s, which means that caregiving commonly happens on and off through the years. Caregiving occurs between generations and within the same generation. It occurs at expected times and unexpected times, in ways we can plan for and in ways we could never predict. Oh, the experiences we’ve had in our family!”
I believe our family’s truth
is the truth of most families:
caregiving encircles us, endlessly.
While it may appear to start and stop,
from that larger perspective
it loops around and around,
tying us together in rings of love
and comfort and hope
and every feeling imaginable.
Caregiving was there long before us
and it will continue its orbit
long after us.
We are privileged to take our place
in that gigantic, looping, circling universe.
Fortunate are those who can sense that privilege
amidst whatever it is our caregiving
may ask of us.
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