A Holiday Carol for a Caregiver

caregiver carol
Sing to the melody or rhythm of A Holly Jolly Christmas and my apologies to Burl Ives!
It is the holiday season, a bittersweet time of year.
Ambivalent is the best word to tell you how I feel.
I go out to do errands.  The mall’s filled with false cheer.
I try to get my chores done without shedding another tear.
 My loved one is still with me.  That might make me smile .
Or I may know it’s been long and hard, and I a break for a while.
I might also know our time is short.  I’m already starting to grieve.
This might be our last holiday before my loved one leaves.
Don’t tell me I should smile, or “things can’t be that bad.”
You don’t know what I live with or how it makes me sad.
In fact, here is my wish list – gifts to get me through.
There are some easy, specific things that I’d like you to do.
One thing I’d love to do for me is get out to the gym .
If you’re here, I can go out, while you’re with her or him.
And make sure it’s a habit, not just once and done.
That’s helping me take care of me in the longer run.
You can bring me a nice dinner, then stay to sit and chat.
I get lonely here at home; I’d really appreciate that.
I need your help to stay in touch, but do it with some care.
Balance talk of what’s going on in my life and “out there”.
I need to be reminded that I’m important, too.
For who and what I truly am, and not just what I do.
It may be hard for you to see what I live with every day.
And yet, just knowing I’m “being seen” can go a long, long way.
So, in the holiday spirit, this is my caregiver’s prayer:
That you have people in your life who genuinely care,
Who help you to take care of you, and offer to help share
The burdens that you carry, the worries that you bear.
To know that you have done your best, regardless how you feel;
To know that feelings all can mix, love and anger are both real.
I hope some daily pleasure and gratitude you’ll find.
Forgive what isn’t perfect; find some peace of mind.

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About Elissa Lewin

Elissa Lewin is a Licensed Psychologist and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has maintained a private practice outside of Philadelphia for 25 years. Her own experience as a caregiver led to her founding Nancy’s House, a comprehensive respite program for family caregivers. www.nancy's-house.org

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