Thank You

Earlier this week
I was in Sioux Falls
presenting about caregiving.
Three sorts of people
were in the audiences:
family caregivers,
volunteer caregivers,
and professional caregivers.
I ended my talk as I often do,
expressing words of appreciation to them
as individuals and as a group.
As I looked into their faces
while speaking my feelings and thoughts,
I saw tears in people’s eyes.
I believe that was because
they were not used to having
their dedication so publicly recognized,
their work so honestly affirmed.
My words to them that day were impromptu,
so I cannot recreate my exact message.
But this is the sort of thing
I attempted to express then,
and what I express to you now,
you who are finding meaning
in reading The Thoughtful Caregiver:

The work you do as a caregiver
is far from easy.
It requires not just physical energy
but mental discipline and emotional stamina.
And not just occasionally but day after day.
Much is asked of you:
your positive attitude,
your compassionate stance,
your openness to feelings,
your willingness to listen well.
Much is needed from you:
your nonjudgmental acceptance,
your heartfelt honesty,
your unashamed humility,
the courage to be vulnerable,
to be authentic,
to be human.
Sometimes it may seem
that your work is never done.
It may feel as if
the responsibilities are much to bear.
You may experience a loneliness
that you wish you didn’t.
On top of all this,
you may not hear many words of appreciation
or be shown many signs of support.
But know this:
you are doing something very important,
even if recognition of this is overlooked,
even if gratitude is in short supply.
You are making a difference in another’s life,
perhaps in more ways than you know.
You are living out the meaning of love,
even if that is not always obvious,
or sure, or comfortable.
So for all these reasons and many more,
thank you.
Thank you for all your caring in the past.
Thank you for what you are doing
and what you are standing for,
right now, right where you are.
Thank you for being ready to carry on tomorrow
with every bit of determination
that you can lovingly muster.
Just this: thank you so very much.

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One Response to “Thank You”

  1. Susan Says:

    Thanks, I needed that.

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