Friday, November 25, 2011


All gardens take a lot of care, but, that's not what I'm talking about today.  I'm referring to those folks who step up to being the primary caregiver of a sick family member or friend.

Care giving is one of those things that can not be imagined unless you've been a caregiver.  The little things that happen which you simply take care of and move on to the next thing.  The huge things can not be described adequately. 

I've done primary care giving first when my father was failing during the last year of his life.  Second, when my husband had the kind of cancer where I was told if the disease didn't kill him - the treatments would.  Fortunately, neither did.

I've written before about some of the things involved in care giving (Cardinal Story #61) and was reminded again Friday when a friend was talking about caring for a spouse with Alzheimer's.

And what, you might ask, does this have to do with gardening?  Nature, when presented in a serene way, has a soothing effect on both caregivers and patients.  It's why hospitals, extended care facilities and clinics have areas with natural settings.

Even though many care givers can't "get away" from their responsibilities for very long, having a setting where they can unwind, relax and mentally get away is important for their own well-being.

You may not be in the middle of care giving; I wasn't when I developed my own gardens.  But, they were certainly one of the helps during the process.  Having a peaceful yard allowed me to stay close and yet emotionally "get away" for brief periods.

In truth, even with unlimited money and willing friends and family, the bulk of care giving is provided by a close family member.  Even when you can get away for brief periods, you are mentally tied to the situation.  Plus, most of us do not want to impose the trails we know will happen on others. 

My father and I would often sit on the porch swing and spend time gazing at the farm lands surrounding our home.  We'd talk some, think some, and let the peace cover us with comfort.  

It's often the very peace of nature that can calm a person suffering with forms of dementia and those facing life threatening diseases.  It's that very nature that can help shore up the caregiver. 

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of our God shall stand forever.”
Bible, Isaiah 40:8

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