Monday, November 7, 2016

It's NaCaGiMo, Folks! Day Seven

I know I've been snippy and snappy and sarcastic about National Family Caregiver Month, and that's mainly because I've developed what I think is a healthy coping mechanism. Being snippy and snappy and sarcastic is a kind of coping vice, I guess, for some of us who don't drink or do drugs or otherwise act destructively when under a whole lot of stress. And maybe it's not much of a vice -- I think that anger and frustration can also be used to fuel change and increase awareness, break down barriers and make the very real problems that we caregivers deal with on a daily basis somewhat more relevant and resonant for others.

Today, though, I'm going to pause and pay homage to my many caregiver friends who've lost their children. Part of the caregiving deal is that many of us think about and experience death all the time. If we're not worried that our children will die before us, we're worried that we'll die before them. At best, this is a messed up situation, an impossible conundrum, but it gives one incredible perspective about living each day and even each moment with an almost reckless gratitude. Over the twenty-one years that I've been a mother and caregiver, I have known many, many children who have died. They were Sophie's friends in preschool and elementary and middle school. They are the children of a few of my best friends. They are the children of the beautiful people I've met online, blogging, and in the larger medical cannabis world. Just last week, another child died, the son of a woman I met at an epilepsy conference who is part of the powerful community of cannabis professionals in Colorado. She and I were on a panel with a bunch of obdurate professionals -- she as a nurse and parent of a child using cannabis and me as a parent of a child using cannabis. I was devastated to hear of the death of her beautiful son Reggie.

Last night I had the privilege of attending the 6th Annual Candle Lighting to Remember, a beautiful event down in Laguna Beach. We each had a paper lantern that we decorated with markers and stickers, sitting at picnic tables on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. I made one for Reggie, specifically, but my intention for the night was to remember all the children I have known in my family caregiver world who have died.

There must have been at least fifty people who walked down a steep beach path, placed their lanterns in the sand and then dropped a tiny candle inside. As the sun went down in a glorious display of pinks and purples and oranges, the lanterns grew brighter and brighter, undulating out in this beautiful serpentine way across the beach.

When the sun had sunk into the ocean, we collected our lanterns and extinguished the lights and walked back up the path to the bluff above.

May you be happy
May you be well
May you be peaceful and at ease

-- Metta, or lovingkindness


  1. Impossible situation. And IS the situation. What a beautiful way to give voice, to give tribute, to remember, to share.
    Lights in the darkness. You. Light in the darkness.

  2. It is our biggest fear, that our children will die, that we will die before them and leave them alone in the world.

    That last bit, thank you. I needed that today.

  3. That is one of the most Beautiful Sights in that first Image, it took my breath away and is such a Powerful Tribute to those Lost! I'm so sorry to hear of your Friend's incredible Loss, I couldn't Imagine losing a Child and yet it is an impossible dilemma if they are totally dependent upon you for their entire Life, you also wouldn't want to leave them alone in this World either... it's indeed a Parent's worst conundrum. We worried about it with Mom as my Brother and I aged... and I do worry about it with my Disabled Spouse as well though... if you're the Caregiver you struggle with this issue perhaps more than most about Mortality Issues. Yes, the coping mechanisms one perfects can sure be interesting, sometimes I barely recognize myself when I'm in the height of my Coping mechanisms and particularly Sarcastic and Sniping! I'm Enjoying your entries to National Caregiver's Month... in fact, before your Series I didn't even KNOW we HAD a Month allegedly devoted to us! *LOL* ... Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian

  4. I love knowing that you were with all of the other folks on the beach, purposeful and determined. I like to think that you felt supported and cared for yourself as you watched the sun set and the lanterns glow. Thank you for sharing this.

  5. A beautiful post, a tribute to those lost and those surviving. I'm so glad you got to participate, sweet and sore comfort it must have been.
    May you and yours be happy, well, peaceful and at ease today and on.
    Love to you and all you know, and don't, who have lost their loved one.



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