Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Essence of Caregiving

Three sweet older books which have escaped being purged are by the late Bob Benson.  One of them, "In Quest of the Share Life" he speaks poignantly about the caregiving he received while in the last stages of cancer.

"But the circle of medicine which seems to surround me most tightly was practiced in the wee hours of the morning when, for the fourth time within an hour, I pressed the call button and someone answered, "Can I help you?" "Yes, I need you again."  

And someone came and cleaned me where I was dirty and touched me where I hurt.  And she remade my bed and tucked the covers under my chin once more and said to me, "Now go back to sleep, but call me if you need me." 

I mumbled some dumb apology for bothering her and making such a mess again.  And the answer was, "That's okay. That's why we're here." 

A lot of sharing of our lives is on some outer circle, where it doesn't cost us much at all, but I am beginning to believe that the true, meaningful experience of our lives will be touching, and washing, and smiling, and lifting.  And all along there will be less and less of us because of places and hours and people we have left part of ourselves."  

"You're going out to live life.  Don't take too good care of yourself, find some things that count, stic k  your neck out, spill some blood, spread some love.  The sin is not in breaking the rules - it's in holding back.  We should." 

I appreciate the ones who have been nurses, doulas and midwives to our bodies, hearts and souls.


Russell Holloway said...

When my father-in-law was passing away from cancer, I remember a nurse rubbing alcohol on his chest to cool him off. It was a simple act of love...

Kathleen said...

It is the simple ones that matter most it seems, Russell.