Monday, July 16, 2007

Caretaker = Unsung Hero

Sometimes referring to a dictionary just doesn’t cut it. The reason that I am disappointed in the dictionary is because of the definition of a “caretaker”. 

If you were to look up the word "caretaker", you would get the following: “One that is employed to look after or take charge of goods, property, or a person; a custodian.” (Webster) Now that sounds fine, but it still misses the mark. To me, the definition of a “caretaker” would be better suited to say something like this:

“One who selflessly renders total support and
maintenance of goods, property, or person
without deadline or complaint.”

Caretakers, under my newly stated definition, clearly embody: Moms (which is the reason for my photo below), spouses, partners, children and anyone who is really willing to do the job (which makes room for a lot of people). I have two examples of a caretaker that I would like to share.

My nephew Andy has a tender heart and watchful eye. Andy is 8 years old and has been a helpful caretaker since the day he could walk. He spent the most impressionable years of his life watching his father lovingly and selflessly perform as a caretaker to my MS-affected sister; giving shots, cleaning, assisted living (on various levels), acting as a confidant and so on. To this day Andy watches over his mother like the average 8 year old would over his prized Spiderman toy.

Granted, Andy is the only one that is allowed to be mean or upset with my sister, but he makes darn sure that no one else talks bad toward his mother and that doors are opened, toys are off of the floor, dishes are put in the sink, and much more.

The second caretaker that I want to highlight is my husband, Josh. I am continually amazed by my husband. He has endless energy, incredible knowledge and desire to learn more, and has an innate loving kindness towards all cultures, people, and me.

With the aforementioned in mind, I think it is easy to see what an awesome caretaker (and spouse) Josh is, but let’s look at my favorite top attributes, for example and for giggles:
  1. His simply being a listening ear can work wonders.
  2. Helping with injections, shows a willingness in him to take part in this life-trial, which in turn makes me not feel so alone in this disease.
  3. He will just hold me, when my body can’t handle anything else.
  4. He provides a fun attitude to distract me from dwelling on the negative; especially when everything feels so overwhelming.
  5. He massages my limbs when the limberness fades or when there is pain.
  6. He provides logic and reasoning when I have none left to contribute.

Josh & Diana in the Black Swamp of South Carolina

I titled this entry “Caretaker = Unsung Hero” because of how pivotal that role is in our lives. I frankly feel that the caretaker doesn’t get enough recognition or due praise in our society. I also have felt that the definition of the caretaker role wasn’t as succinct as it should be. Caretakers don’t just work, they suffer. They don’t just operate in the background; they are the backdrop that makes everything around them beautiful. Caretakers take the lead, finding new options and energy when there was none left to be had.

Caretakers are the constant heroes 
of our everyday lives.

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