I have heard many variations of this same idea. The original quote in 1956 by Walter Hagen was, “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Regardless of the type of flower, the idea is to take the time to notice the beauty around you.
This is hard for me to implement. As a 24/7 caregiver for my adult son who suffers with a life-threatening epilepsy syndrome, my free time is at a minimum. Many days it is non-existent. I live in heighten awareness of what is happening with Nick. No matter what I am doing, I spring to my feet and race to his room with every unusual or unexpected sound. Even in the evening after putting him to bed, I have one ear listening to the baby monitor next to me while I try to relax watching a pre-recorded TV show.
To keep the feelings of overwhelm at bay, I do try to make note of the good times. Those times when Nick says something profound and insightful or other times when his comment is so hilarious that our intense belly-laughing could count as our aerobic exercise for the day.
Writing this blog for the past 18 months has given me an opportunity to ponder these amazing moments with Nick. As I share with you the thoughts I reflect on and the lessons I have learned, I am reminded of the joyful moments. It has been a great blessing to me.
Caregiving is hard. It is the nature of the job. But even though it can be intense and stressful, it is also profound and exceptional. My life is a wild ride that gives me the chance to feel more deeply. To paraphrase Jim McKay from ABC’s Wide World of Sports, with caregiving I experience “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” It truly is human drama.
Some days I do better than others. As I reflect at the end of each day, I marvel at the opportunity I have to tell my story. I hope that it helps you.
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