Friday, June 12, 2020

Saying Thank You

“Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” 
-Randy Pausch

* * * * *

When my mother was sick with Lewy Body Dementia and desperately in need of competent and compassionate care, I reached out to a perfect stranger who stepped in, stepped up, and saved us both. 

Forever, I will be grateful to Joanna and her staff for the sensitive standards of safekeeping and gentle companionship they gave to my mom during her time of great need. 

These past few months, as Covid has swept the planet, I've thought of Joanna and her team caring for other people with dementia, people who can't possibly grasp the concept of a worldwide pandemic - the rest of us can barely make sense of it ourselves, people who must feel inexplicably cut off from their families and regular routines. And my heart has filled, over and again, with gratitude for dementia caregivers everywhere.

A few weeks ago, I realized that instead of just feeling gratitude, it was high time that I acted upon my feelings. So I reached out to Joanna and asked how I could help. She suggested that I write notes of appreciation to her staff, and so this project was born.

Inspired by famed children's book illustrator and collage artist, Lois Elhert, I created eight postcard-sized flower designs from watercolors. On the flip side, I added a little plaid pocket and tucked inside a note, each with the same message:
^ Morning glories,
^ daffodils,
^ Oriental poppies,
^ hyacinth,
^ delphinium,
^ more hyacinth,
^and pink and blue carnations. 


Thank you. 

Thank you for caring for people with dementia.- people who have lived lives of dignity and value, people whose brains are ravaged by this terrible, invisible disease, people who can no longer care for themselves. I'm sure that they thank you, in their own sweet ways, for what you do. I trust that their families thank you too. But as a society who depends upon people like you to care for and love on our bewildered elders, we don't say thank you enough. And as Covid 19 devastates our world, making your work exponentially more difficult and also more important, it's my turn to speak up. 

Thank you

* * * * *
I know.

It's just a short note accompanied by some scraps of colored paper. Nothing I can do will ever compare to the demanding work these caregivers provide, the difficult conditions they face, the ever-uphill battle of emotional, physical,and spiritual care they pull from deep in their hearts..

My gifts to them are literally just words on a page.

But simply saying thank you is the best thing I can think of to do.

* * * * *

Here's the story of how I met Joanna

And here's a story about how Joanna helped me understand grief:

What Joanna Taught Me

To read more of the many stories I've written about my mom's long walk with dementia, go here.
The posts are shown in reverse order, from the most recent to the oldest, so if you want to start at the beginning, scroll down. 

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