It’s that time again–February is here. It is the most challenging month of the year for Caregivers. “Why”, you ask? Most Caregivers are taking care of their spouse. February, with its focus on love and Valentine’s Day serves to bring up a host of memories for the Caregiver regarding their life with their Survivor prior to their stroke or catastrophic event. When the world turns to commercial after commercial of flowers, diamonds, chocolate, and all of the lovely images of youth and love, the Caregiver begins to melt inside. Caregivers can often feel like a box of chocolates left out in the sun too long, slowly losing their shape, a reminder of the shape their life used to be.
Fortunately, there are ways to use those memories of past joy with your spouse to bring you into the joy of living in the present. Living in the present is really the only option one has. The past is gone, no one can relive it, and the future is yet to come. Living in the present, or in “The Now” as many of the wisdom writers of our time express, is the best way to maximize your joy, your potential, and the love that is still with you.
Here are 3 suggestions for Caregivers on how to live in “The Now”.
- Sit with your loved one, hold hands, look into each other’s eyes, and smile. Then bring up a really pleasant memory you share of something you did together in the past when you were vibrantly “in love”. We all have those moments when love was young and oh-so-gloriously-new. Next, comment on how lucky you are to be together after all these years, still loving one another, and sharing the joy of being together. It is most likely a different joy, but who cares! You’re still together. Be grateful. Gratitude is the key. Then move on and let the gratitude remain in “The Now” and let the memory go back to the past, where it belongs. If tears arrive, be grateful. They show you how wonderful and joyful everything still is.
- Come up with a favorite meal that you have shared together often. Surprise your loved one with candlelight, flowers, pretty napkins, and your favorite foods together. Include that special glass of wine if it’s on the menu health-wise. Go all out, make it extra-special. Put the wedding picture on the table as decoration. My guess is that you’ll feel energized and joyful inside as you shop for, cook, set the table, and provide that special surprise for your loved one. It doesn’t really matter if they know what you did to create this event, or if they remember the past ones. YOU know, and you are remembering for and with them and with yourself. What fun you can make this! Giggle. Smile. Be grateful you have this special memory to recreate. You’re reliving this memory in “The Now!”
- Rejoice in all that you have accomplished. Create a list, on paper, of all of the solutions you’ve come up with to solve issues with caring for your loved one. Include all of the things you do each day to make your lives easier. All of these things you have done, you’ve done to create “quality of life” for yourself and your loved one. Pat yourself on the back and be grateful that you have chosen to live gracefully with the situation the Universe provided for you. You are wonderful, successful, and YOU are AMAZING! You are living in the joy of “The Now”. Remind yourself often of how wonderful you are and what you have created.
I am truly grateful that you, a Caregiver, or maybe not a Caregiver, are reading this blog post. I hope you find it inspirational for yourself and your loved ones this Valentine’s Day. Be at peace, and know that you are loved.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Caregivers and their Survivors out there, living in “The Now”.
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© 2018 Nancy Weckwerth