Most of us think of caregiving in a negative light when we think of the elderly, the sick or those who have suffered a terrible accident. We know so many people who are burdened and frustrated with caring for members of their families. They need special doses of support and love.
However, I have discovered a different variety of caregiving over the past two years from a dear neighbor. She is almost 80 years old and has cared for me in neighborly gestures almost like a mother. We have laughed over joys and ranted together over frustrations. We have taken day trips, shopping trips and eaten at special restaurants. She has loved my grandchildren and showered them with special gifts each time they visited. There is always the aroma of cookies baking in her condo which sits directly across the driveway from mine. We have spent evenings together on my patio over a glass of wine discussing politics. She is brilliant, resilient, stubborn and a perfectionist. I have grown to love her and was assured that in my new abode, she always had my back.
This week she is moving back to T-town as Huntsville just hasn’t worked out for her the way she had hoped. She is returning to a network of wonderful friends there who will support and sustain her.
From her I have learned how to grieve with strength and graciousness. For you see she has lost three adult children and yet has not a bitter sentiment regarding those tragedies. I have learned how to make contentment instead of loneliness. I have learned that whining is not the answer and that giving is just pure joy.
My dear friend, I will miss you. Many thanks for a new perspective on caregiving, one that is totally positive and inspiring. Godspeed!