Family reunions– a time for smiles and hugs, a time for laughs and tears, a time for reminiscing on the past as well as discussing future plans, and a time to see the new babies as well as remember those that have passed. This past weekend I had the opportunity to reunite with my family, both immediate and extended, in the lovely mountains of Pulaski, Virginia. The family-owned land on which we gather is one of my very favorite places to visit; the hay fields, mountains, dirt roads, and creek combine to create an atmosphere that is ingrained deep within my heart. Catching up with relatives is always a pleasure, and this year I had the chance to sit down with a great uncle that I noticed had aged significantly in the past year. A cane that was once unnecessary now accompanied him as he moved from one seat to the other, and his wife and daughter now kept an extra eye on him to ensure that his comfort and safety were in check. This situation not only revealed to me how much physical change can take place in a year, but it also reminded me that everyone is someone’s family. Each client that Griswold refers caregivers to is someone’s husband, wife, mother, or father, and deciding who to trust with that loved one can and should be an important decision for every family caregiver. As a child, I generally gave my attention to the family members close to me in age, but in my adult years I have gained such a love and appreciation for the older generations. Not only have I learned to appreciate the wisdom they possess, but I have also come to realize that I must fully embrace the opportunities I have to engage with and learn from these individuals.
The weekend came, and the weekend went. We all drove away on our divergent routes, and in another twelve months, we will meet again. By next year, much change will have occurred, but the importance of our loved ones will remain the same.
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