Respite III

Every single caregiver
needs time off
and time away.
All caregivers
need occasional freedom
from everyday responsibilities.
All of us deserve to have periods of time
not devoted to caring for someone else,
however much we love that person.
We need to run errands.
We need to keep appointments.
Some of us need to attend meetings,
others, to show up at work.
We may have hobbies to engage in,
friends to spend time with,
other family members to focus on.
And—this is very, very important—
we have something else to do:
next to nothing at all,
if it feels right.
Every now and again,
the best use of an hour might be,
not in “using” it,
but in simply enjoying it.
Working a crossword puzzle, for example.
Playing a computer game.
Reading a second-rate mystery.
Watching a third-rate TV show.
Gazing out the window.
Doodling with colored pencils.
Leafing through photo albums.
Surfing the internet.
Skipping stones across a pond.
Identifying the shapes in clouds.
Or closing our eyes
and not identifying anything at all.
Bertrand Russell had it right:
“The time you enjoy wasting,
is not wasted time at all.”
Sometimes the best management of time
for a really dedicated caregiver
is to become a dedicated loafer,
a serious slug,
a committed dawdler,
a staunch goof-off,
a world-class putterer.
If we have any questions about this,
we can tell ourselves that Bertrand Russell,
the famous and much-published philosopher,
said so.

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One Response to “Respite III”

  1. Elaine Williams Says:

    This is so true. As a caretaker for my husband when he was terminally ill with cancer, I know how exhausted you become, trying to cover all bases, and do more and more for the entire family, besides my husband. Caretaking does take a lot out of you, emotionally and physically. We all need to be aware of taking care of anyone who is a caretaker, especially long term.

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