By Deacon Jerry Jablonowski, Executive Director
VITALity Catholic Healthcare Services
November is traditionally a month on the Catholic calendar to honor and pray for the dead. For all who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith.
However, November is also the month that we pay special attention and recognize those among us who are giving of themselves as caregivers to those in need. Caregivers number approximately 35 million here in the U.S. alone and give countless hours in the care and companionship for those, mostly family members, who by age, illness or disability, are no longer capable of caring for themselves. Caregivers are the unsung heroes in the lives of many who depend on them for their health, welfare and dignity, in maintaining their lives. Caregivers often neglect their own health and wellbeing for the good of the other they care for. This leads to many difficulties – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual – that need to be addressed in their lives.
At Vitality, we strive to offer support in these areas through resources, services and programs that can assist the caregivers in finding balance and stability in their own lives as they provide the proper care for a loved one.
I have attached a little article from Our Sunday Visitor (author: Bill Dodds), that reminds us that caregiving is also a witness to our pro-life position as Catholics. Also, A Caregiver’s Prayer is attached that may provide the reader some comfort and support in their daily toils as a dedicated, loving caregiver.
May God grant His abundant blessings on all caregivers as they practice mercy in their lives through their act of compassionate giving of their time and energy in the care of another.
CAREGIVING IS PRO-LIFE
By: Bill Dodds
It’s good to be reminded, or to realize for the first time, that caregiving is pro-life.
What seems so obvious can be easily overlooked, especially if you’re a caregiver yourself. So busy – at times so overwhelmed – with your caregiving duties, you may tend to be aware of what you no longer can do (volunteer at the parish, for example) but fail to notice what you are doing.
You’re the light of the world in these darkening times.
Now more than ever, the world needs the “light” – the example of love and selfless giving – that family caregivers offer.
The growing darkness isn’t just promoters of euthanasia and assisted suicide gaining ground. It’s the public’s increasing willingness to accept that a human life has little or no value if that person isn’t seen as a contributing and productive member of society.
Instead, those who need care are viewed as burdens on taxpayers and families. And some who need care are beginning to see themselves that way, too.
In the words of the Gospel, family caregivers like you are the light of the world, the city set on a mountain, the lamp placed on a stand where it gives light to all in the house (see Mt. 5: 14-16).
Your love, compassion, dedication and hard work are testimonies to the value of human life.
Heavenly Father, help me better understand and believe I can do what you ask me to do.
Forgive me for the times, even now, when I question your judgment.
As I go about the many daily tasks of caregiving, give me energy.
As I answer his/her repeated question just one more time, give me patience.
As I look for solutions to whatever is the most recent concern, give me wisdom.
As I reminisce with him/her about the “good old days,” give me a moment of laughter.
As I get to know my loved one in a new way, seeing both his/her strength and frailty, give me joy.
As I sit beside my loved one’s bed waiting for his/her pain medication to take effect, give me comfort.
Lighten my burden, answer my prayer, and give me the strength to do what so often seems impossible.
Give me a quiet place to rest when I need it and a quieting of my anxieties when I’m there.
Change my attitude from a tired, frustrated and angry caregiver to the loving and compassionate one I want to be.
Remain my constant companion as I face the challenges of caregiving and when my job is through and it’s time for me to let go, help me remember he/she is leaving my loving arms to enter your eternal embrace.