care giving and the care giver

The weeks are catching up with me as our family responds to chronic illness. We are caring for the ill person. And we are caring for the main caregiver.

It saps time and energy as we try to sort through the variety of options available to help us, financially and physically.

And adapt to a new way of living.

Today is a day off for me. From work. And from caring. 

And so I sit alone in my home in the February sunlight, relishing this moment, this time. 

Family networks--whether by blood or adoption or committed intergenerational friendships--are a necessity when tough times come. And families need the support of community agencies when illness strikes. We need the expertise and the service of the nurse, the social worker, the home health aid, the veteran services, the hospice worker.

As family, we pull together the best we can and care for one another as we live through these days. 

Gray Days

November's palette in Minnesota is composed of browns and grays: dried leaves, bare trees, a sky covered with clouds. There is the anticipation of colder weather, of soft drifting snow, of days that will continue to shorten until mid-December. I like November. There's something appealing about lighting candles, snuggling in, and eating root vegetables and stews and soups. 

The month of February has some of the same qualities as November--a neutral color palette, cold weather, short days, and snow. But I have a more difficult time appreciating February. I'm so glad it's a short month. I have had my fill of long nights. I'm ready for blue skies, longer daylight hours, more sunlight, and green leafy vegetables.

How do I work with my impatience? I go for walks when it's warm enough and the sidewalks or streets aren't slippery.  I spent a day with my best friend exploring Baldwin, Wisconsin. We shared a meal and tea at the Phoenix Grill then checked out the second-hand stores and a fun store called Paisley Cow that has some crazy selections of artistic shoes and fantabulous hats in addition to other vintage items. 

How do you take care of yourself when winter gets on your nerves?