Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Topic: Twas the night before Christmas in Caregiverland

We always celebrated Christmas in some form or fashion with mommy. I do not have many holiday memories with my father because I was so young when he died. One year, I remember he brought my sisters and me those black and white loafers because they were hard to destroy. Yes, I was a tomgirl!

Does anyone remember these hideous shoes?

When mommy came to in 1997, she was independent, walking, driving, caring for her business affairs, and cooking and feeding herself. Christmas was full of fun and food. Our favorite board game was scrabble.

One day, it all changed. Independence turned into dependence during the holiday season, and Caregiverland was born in Missouri City, Texas. Over the years, the Christmas season had become challenging and different. From mommy shopping for Christmas gifts on her own to giving money cards because shopping was no longer feasible. Actually, I would have preferred the cash anyway to limit those gifts you receive, and your smile in gratefulness is fake, and in the back of your mind, you are saying, “what am I to do with THIS”….hahah. Regift, here I come. LOL!

Caregivers may smile, but the reality is that the work continues, even during the holidays. The bathing, dressing, feedings, turnings, paying attention to the health conditions, maintenance of medical equipment, ensuring medications are given, washing clothes, drying clothes, changing linen, handling business affairs for your loved ones, and doing it all over again, with little rest and limited sleep. In Texas, for example, we rarely even get a Christmas ambiance- the “Winter Wonderland” experience. This year, it will be 80-degrees on Christmas day. That’s Texas for ya!!

To all caregivers in Caregiverland, try to infuse the happy memories with your loved ones and enjoy the good days despite what the day brings. Sometimes you have to dance like no one is watching. For those who have lost our parents, the ones who gave us life, I am supporting you. I am thinking of you.

I know from personal experiences that many of our needs as caregivers are unmet. We hide the extent of our feelings, so we don’t seem angry that our life’s journey has changed. You know, and I know, we are resilient souls, even on days of feeling hopelessly challenged. As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I want you to know that while Christmas may be different and difficult, you are fantastic! You are terrific! You are exceptional. You are remarkable! You are a winner every day, all day! Promise me you will do something, anything, for YOU! Be safe! Be well!

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Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.

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