At least three-quarters of this country can relate to the title of this essay, “The Weight of Winter.” It has been brutal: heavy, aggravating, dangerous and unpredictable. It has trampled us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Even in Alabama where the Sunny South is our nickname, the month of February has been a doozie. We’ve had three, ice/snow/ice/ episodes back-to-back-to-back which have delayed and disrupted life for most of us and cost city and county governments their monthly budgets. The only folks who’ve seemingly made it to work every day have been the television folks and hospital staff doing a great job of keeping us informed and safe.
Then the most miraculous phenomenum happens. JUST one beautiful day of sunshine like yesterday where the temperature soared to forty degrees brought out the lilt in our voices and the spring in our steps. Just one beautiful day of sunshine and all the dreary memories start to fade. We are renewed, energized and eager to face our challenges once again.
Is this not a bit like caregiving whose other name could well be Winter? We struggle with confinement, restriction, aggravation, limited visibility (even if figureatively) and a desire to run unemcumbered. It’s very easy to get depressed, frustrated, anxious and resentful. Regardless of who we are caring for and whatever their affliction, we may feel channeled in a well as deep and heavy as winter. But the great thing about the human personality is that we all await a sign of hope and respond with great eagerness. We turn toward the sun like vibrant yellow-orange sunflowers straining to absorb all the radiation and warmth they can steal from the brilliant orb.
If you’ve been a caregiver through this long, dark, heavy winter, I sing your praises. And I promise you that sunshine is on the way, just like today in the now truly Sunny South. Never give up hope. Push your caregivee into the sun and sit with them. Open the shutters or the storm day and let the warmth hit their pale faces. Be the sunflower even if just for today. Store up that positive energy and pray that the weight of winter will give way to the dance of spring.