Often it’s hard to fully appreciate what you have until it’s gone. When you miss it then you realize just how blessed you were. Last Sunday’s Story by Julie Brown, Caregiving Memories of My Grandmothers, was a great example of appreciation all way around. Julie was grateful for the opportunity to care for her grandmothers and they appreciate her for the care she gave.
I was fortunate to know both of Julie’s grandmothers. They welcomed our family when we moved into the neighborhood. They were friendly, happy and the kind of people that always made you feel better just by being around them. Last summer when Mark was at the rehab center, Julie’s grandmother was in a room just a few doors down from Mark’s room. Since I was with Mark most of the time, we witnessed the sweet visits from Julie and her children. I was impressed and touched by her love and support and know her grandmother was also. At mealtime we often sat at the same table with Julie’s grandmother and she spoke often of her family and how grateful she was for them.
Three tips from Julie’s story:
1) Sometimes your presence is all the help that’s needed. Julie recognized the importance of visiting her grandmother in the rehab center. Sometimes she would rub her feet, brush her hair and other times she just sat and held her grandmother’s hand. Giving support and encouragement in this way was all her grandmother needed. Nothing feels better than knowing you are loved and cared for.
2) Humor relieves stress. While Julie’s grandma was living with her and dropped something, she would apologize for the mess that needed cleaning. Julie used humor instead of getting upset by saying, “How did you know I needed to mop the floor?” Also when Julie’s kids couldn’t understand why she was happy to make another meal for Grandma and not them, she would say, “When you are 90 years old, you can be picky too.”
3) Appreciate the time you have. During the hard times, when Julie was tired or frustrated she would remind herself that her grandmother would not be here much longer and what an honor it was to take care of her. Most things are harder than we think they’re going to be and being a caregiver is no exception. I think it’s wonderful Julie stuck with it and recognized the blessings which came because of her service. The appreciation her grandmothers expressed to her and the feelings of gratitude she felt from her deceased grandpa brought pleasure and made her caregiving worthwhile. This is a great reminder for all of us—when someone is doing something nice for us—appreciation is the best pay.
I thought Laura Nordfelt’s comment was worth repeating, “What an amazingly sweet person you are Julie and what a great gift you gave to your children, not only the time they had with their great grandmother, but the lesson they learned about giving back. You are one smart (and wonderful) Mom.”