October 15th was a big day for all of us at AKOTA. Jim and Leslie welcomed their first grandchild; a beautiful baby girl! Maeve is an angel who is starting a new generation of creative and courageous Lindsay’s. Eighty years before Maeve entered the world, my mother Jane was born in San Francisco. Over eight decades, mom has survived fire, earthquakes, three teenagers, and two amiable and loving husbands. As I told Jim and Leslie, October 15th is the day that strong women are born.
In some hospitals, the birth of a new baby is greeted with the playing of Brahm’s lullaby over the hospital intercom system. Nurses in the ICU, doctors in the ER, patients in palliative care all pause and listen. Slowly, gentle smiles spread across the faces of patients on the Med/Surg Unit, and those in the Chemotherapy Infusion Clinic. It is a wonderful reminder that although life can end in a hospital, life also often begins there as well.
Whether at home or in the hospital, caregiving can seem like the first verses in Sunday’s Gospel reading:
In those days after that tribulation
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
(MK 13: 24-25)
Babies teethe, toddlers get the flu, children have nightmares, teenagers stay out past curfew. On the other end of life, illness can leave us agitated, sleepless and miserable as well. Some nights it does seem like the stars have fallen from the sky.
But life is mostly made up of the good stuff. Our Gospel also tells us to:
Learn a lesson from the fig tree.
When its branch becomes tender and sprouts leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see these things happening,
know that he is near, at the gates.
Whether the excitement of a newborn baby, witnessing the first bloom of Spring, greeting the support of loving friends, or living through the harrowing concern for a dying loved one we know that our Creator is near, constantly and continually creating the earth, and our hearts.
Those of us in the caregiving world know that God’s most precious creations, our family and friends, require consistent care. Jesse and Alyssa are learning that Maeve can be up several times at night requiring feeding, changing, cuddling, and consoling. Parents of small children know no end to the necessary hugs and help needed to bring up well raised children. Young married people need the support of families, middle aged people need the support of spouses, friends, and adult children. In fact, all of us need consistent love and caring throughout our life times.
But what does consistent care look like? To answer this question, I did what many smart people do: I googled it and pulled up Wiki-how:
1. Consistent people have specific and realistic plans and goals.
2. They create lists and schedules that they stick to.
3. They make promises only if they can keep them.
4. They hold themselves accountable and persevere even if they make a mistake.
5. They find time each and every day to recharge, and reflect.
At AKOTA Home Care, we know that families rely on us to be consistent. This is why we have Care Team Leaders who are on call 24/7 to answer your questions. This is why we hire caregivers who stick around: Willie Mae and Cynthia have been with us for 22 years!
Our Gospel reading ends,
But of that day or hour, no one knows,
neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Jesse and Alyssa didn’t know that Maeve would arrive 10 days early, nor did my mom know I would arrive 30 days late! None of us know the day, or hour that you may need home care. When a baby is born, offers to help come quickly and last a long time. This is often not the case at the other end of life. Family caregivers don’t have the support of loving grandparents or eager aunts and uncles, and often find themselves feeling alone and isolated. Please know that if you ever need someone to help you out, AKOTA is there to be the consistent shoulder on which you can lean.
*Want to be more consistent? There are a bunch more suggestions at Wikihow: