The Promise of Spring in the Seasons of Caregiving

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Dr. James D. Huysman

Caring for the Caregiver /

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Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. - Doug Larson

There’s an excitement in the air when the world starts waking up after it’s long winter’s nap.  Tiny glimpses of green peering out of the ground promise that soon there will be an eruption of color celebrating rebirth.  When the cold, harsh winds of winter give way to gentle breezes, it’s a busy time for flora and fauna to shake off the old and reveal itself anew.  Spring is hopeful, gleeful, joyful, or as Robin Willams put it, Spring is nature's way of saying, "Let's party!" 

However, it’s not that way for all of us.  Hope does not always spring eternal for caregivers. The seasons of caregiving do not always coincide with the four seasons that signal changes in the earth.  The seasons of caregiving happen inside us; the four seasons happen around and outside of us.

There are more than four seasons of caregiving. Those that come to mind include: fear, anger, sadness/grief, identification, acceptance, empowerment, and transformation.  They do not happen n any particular order, last any set length of time, or have any regard for other circumstances or responsibilities in your life.  They are a part of the process. 

Almost everyone has a favorite plant, flower or tree.  Even if you’re not “feeling” spring this year, others may appreciate their favorites’ presence in their space, either in person, with fragrance or even a photo.  Feel free to treat yourself to your favorite plant or flower too!

For some spring may be a season of abiding  grief, an annual reminder of a great loss that even the brightly-colored flowers of the season cannot heal or assuage…yet.  Time, in its infinite wisdom can transform us and our perception.  Knowing that spring will always come fulfills its promise.  It can become a time of remembrance that nature also celebrates.  Planting a tree or shrub in remembrance of a loved one is a wonderful testimony to their life.

Those new to caregiving may not be able to fully appreciate the glory of spring this year, but it is important that you do.  You see, each season is a season of caregiving and each season carries its own promise.  During every 365 days the earth is doing what it needs to do to take care of itself, just as you should.

Just as the seasons of the year change, so will your own personal seasons as you sojourn on this profound journey called caregiving. During all the seasons of your personal caregiving journey it helps to be mindful of what you are feeling when you are feeling it.  This will help to alleviate  the overwhelm you may feel when you “become” or continue to be a caregiver.

About The Author
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James D “Dr. Jamie” Huysman, PsyD, LCSW is well-known for his work fiercely advocating on behalf of family and professional caregivers. From running a national caregiver support foundation, contributing to the AARP Foundation/NASW’s collective “New Guidelines for Caregivers of Older Adults” and co-authoring “Take Your Oxygen First”, to his expert videos on Caregiver Connections for UHC TV, he is a champion of behavioral health and a patient-centered medical culture that is prepared to meet the needs of those they serve.  A popular speaker, he works as VP of Provider Relations and Government Affairs for WellMed Medical Management.

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