Giving Care to a Caregiver

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Mother had a test at the hospital yesterday morning. To our surprise — and joy — she passed it perfectly. Since Ray and I had a reception we wanted to attend late in the afternoon, we made the day one of our all-day marathon errand runs in Cookeville.

Some we did together. Others we divided to conquer. One of my marathon stops was Hobby Lobby. Sometimes, when I’m on one of these runs, I don’t see a single person I know, even though we have lived around here for 23 years. Today was different. I saw five folks I knew in Hobby Lobby and three were mamas I knew through homeschooling way back in the last century! I’ll make up their names, as the old Dragnet TV show used to say, “to protect the innocent.”

First, I ran into homeschooler Barb in the fabric department.

Fabric Center in Burdine Department Store, Miami, Florida. Courtesy Library of Congress
Okay, so it didn’t exactly look like this! Here is the fabric center at Burdine’s Department Store in Miami, Florida, in 1957. Courtesy Library of Congress.

As I headed for the short checkout line, I said a brief hello to homeschooler Ann Marie, who was standing behind another register where she was learning to cashier.

While I made my own purchase, Ann Marie checked out Marian. Marian oversaw our son John in one of his volunteer activities when we homeschooled. Marian and I had a lot of catching up to do today. It’s been so long since we saw each other that she thought maybe we had moved away.

As I was about to leave, I saw Jeanie, a good friend we went to church with at the last church where Ray was the preacher.

When I went to return my cart and head over to say hello to Jeanie (whom I ended up missing entirely), I saw Deidra, another homeschooling mama from the last century. Like Ann Marie, Deidra was an active part of the homeschooling community in many, many ways. Deidra and her husband Dwayne were devout believers in Jesus. They were a handsome couple and he was a successful businessman. Each exuded faith and vitality and joy.

Sixteen years ago Dwayne was diagnosed with a life-changing illness. Deidra had to go back into her career and become the breadwinner of the family. Their children have long since grown up, and now Dwayne and Deidra are grandparents. Beside the checkout stands, between the front door and the weekly sale flyer stand, Deidra told me about her family. One child lives out of state; the others live nearby. She expressed her gratitude for God’s amazing provision of allowing her to work from home. She answered my questions with faith and honesty.

How is Dwayne?

He can hardly walk and his memory . . .

Does he know everyone?

No.

How are you?

Thank you for asking. Most people don’t. I didn’t used to ask either before I knew.

I know your days are full, but, if you are looking for volunteer opportunities for your children, I encourage you to find a caregiver and see how you can bless her . . . or him.  They need help. They need encouragement. They need companionship. They need moments or mornings or days without caregiving. They need someone to notice and say thank you.

Therefore encourage one another
and build up one another,
just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

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