From The Family Caregiver Newsletter
I Am Essential
I am a Caregiver. I am the one who provides what others need. I am the one who suffers the long days and lonely nights to support another who can no longer do so for themselves.
I am the one who listens with one ear, observes with one eye and loves for two with one heart. I am the one who keeps watch of the clock, the days, the calendar. I am the caregiver who lives for the both of us, remembers for the both of us and goes on walks alone for the both of us. I am the caregiver who OWNS love.
I am essential. Who else will do the remembering, loving, caring? I am essential to speak for them, listen for them, and remind others of who they were, what they loved, and what foods they savored.
What more can I give, who else will give their Heart? Who else has given those years? Who else has given all those moments, memories, kisses, and embraces?
I am essential because I am them. I am essentially them. That is what love is.
How else can I express to you how essential I am to them - to my wife, my husband, my father, mother, sibling, friend, partner.
Let me be with them. Let me visit with them, let me speak with them, enlighten others about and how they need care. Let me be there to comfort them, whisper to them, and hold their hand.
Let me be essential to their parting. The whole time they are parting. The time it takes to breathe their last and leave this mortal coil. Let me be the one to say good bye, to kiss them as they leave this place and make their journey. Let me be essential to speak the last words of love they will hear from me, but not the last works of love from my lips.
Let me be the essential guide to their next step away from this life. How else will I know they are gone? I have an essential need to be there, with them. I am essential to them as they are to me. I am essentially half of them. I need to essentially be there to witness the heart beats until they cease. I am essential.
To all the family caregivers, let us be your Valentine, for you are ours, for you are love, you are Essential.
John McBride, MA is the supervisor for the Family Caregiver Support Program at the Lewis Mason Thurston Area Agency on Aging. Call (360) 664-2168 or on-line (www.lmtaaa.org) for more information about how our program can help unpaid family caregivers.