"My husband and I are part of a privileged few who are entrusted with caring for others. We are the ones who provide much-needed respite care so mom can remember what it’s like to have a carefree movie with friends."
By Paula Anderson
I drove home like a mad-woman, just one more hour, just one more day. As I crossed the country from east to mid-west the weather grew considerably colder, until I found myself adding layers of shirts and vests and hoodies just to gas the car. What a time to return, even my co-workers out east had joked about getting home in time to enjoy a nice Minnesota winter. Little did they know, Minnesota winters are a sacred time, it’s time to reflect, and mend, and become grounded.
I left the state in April, thinking the position would only last 3 months; 7 months later I begin the long drive home, to my husband, my dogs, my co-workers, and most importantly our caregivers and clients. You see my husband and I are part of a privileged few who are entrusted with caring for others. We are the ones who provide much-needed respite care so mom can remember what it’s like to have a carefree movie with friends. We are the ones who step in to ensure Aunt Betty or your neighbor Joe doesn’t fall while taking a shower. That friend of yours who’s dementia has made the task of buying groceries a frightening experience; we are the ones who ensure there is a caregiver with them every step of the way.
Though I have not been in this business for my entire career, this career is the one that has meaning. The first time I helped a client with a bath, how remarkable it seemed that this person was so relaxed and accepting of their vulnerability; how privileged I was to share these moments, anticipating needs, washing them gently ensuring they weren’t getting cold, drying and dressing them. I found myself taken back by the feelings that this experience elicited, what was it that made this such a fulfilling task? Maybe it’s my history, helping a grandma in or out of the car while I was growing up, or visiting a mother in the nursing home. . . or was it that someday this person would be me.
At least I’ll have some time now that the days are shorter and the weather colder, to reflect on these experiences, and to seek out more of them, in this sacred time that Minnesotan’s call winter.