So many of us love the expression “Home for the Holidays”. It signals a time of being surrounded by family and enraptured with visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.
Home for the holidays means something completely different to many caregivers. For many, it’s home-bound for the holidays.
Home is all some caregivers know. They’re literally stuck at home, helping and supporting a family member who is not able to leave home and certainly in no condition to celebrate.
When caregiving takes over, the holiday season can become a vague memory, a distant hope or dream, now unfulfilled. There is only the ghost of Christmases past.
Many will never experience the joy of someone reciprocating a gift, a well wish, a kindly noted card; their loved ones are just too lost in their disability or illness to be able to communicate yuletides, or greetings of kind cheer, or bountiful promises for a New Year.
There is no off switch for many among us who care. No hanging up the hard hat and easing into the season of do-nothingness. The garb of care is zipper-less and impossible to strip off when a family member’s vulnerable state always whispers: “You can’t leave me”.
For many caregivers, the holidays are filled with bright, blinding light; one that forces them to turn away or, worse yet, turn in and ruminate in the darkness over the grief of the living losses that fill their days, even the holiest days.
If you’re among the lucky that can contemplate the season of joy and respite, find a way to subsidize the gap in cheer that is beset upon so many of your caring neighbors. Drop in to share well wishes, exchange a thoughtful card, or better yet, help them to find their own time to experience the holidays beyond the confines of their home, a moment to break free and feel the sharp jolt of winter’s fresh air.
Wishing all a season of warm cheer and self-caring moments.