"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2008 as National Family Caregivers Month. I encourage all Americans to honor the selfless service of caregivers who support their loved ones in need."
And so it was that, on October 29 of this year, we caregivers got a month of our own. Being curious, I wonder who lobbied to have a month dedicated to caregivers because, let's face it, nothing gets done unless someone is out there lobbying for it. Now I've got to admit that, like many caregivers, I don't associate or even know others in the same boat. Mandy, my wife, was diagnosed with MS a bit before we got married, and we just sort of naturally made adjustments to our way of living. While I move forward with my relatively newfound career as a web designer / developer, Mandy's doing everything she can think of to break into the writing biz... the goal being for us both to be able to make a living working out of our home. That, in turn, will increase the possibility of us achieving our ultimate goal, which is just to own a home near the ocean and spend our days together---writing, designing, coding, doing whatever projects come our way. Hey, you gotta have a dream.
As I was sitting here trying to come up with something to write about, I read one of my wife's latest posts entitled, Life Behind the Smile: Confessions of an MS Patient. I'm quite proud of her; it would be so easy to just give in to MS and proclaim life over. Instead, she quietly reaches down and finds the strength to pursue new dreams. For me, reading her writings about MS is so much different from our normal talks about it, which just seem a part of everyday conversation. Mandy will tell you that I don't always listen to everything she's saying... that I'm oftentimes preoccupied with my own thoughts. I suppose that may be one outcome of our spending so much time together. But this post made me stop and think. Perhaps, when she's doing well, even I tend to downplay her MS and the effects it's having on her. She's really gotten better at hiding it.
Funny, we spend our lives waiting for tomorrow. You know what I mean. Someday this will happen... and someday that will happen... but it never happens today. It's like that old sign you'll see outside restaurants and bars that proclaims, "Free Beer Tomorrow." Well, you can go stand and wait for as long as you want, but I guarantee that you will never be standing there on a day that's labeled 'tomorrow.' Tomorrow is, after all, always at least one-second out of reach.
Perhaps, being caregivers, we need to change the way life has taught us to think. Perhaps we need to change 'tomorrow' into 'today.' And before you ask, no---I'm not handing out free beers today. But today I may just start to look for that little house by the beach. Today I may just reach out and offer my help to the National Family Caregivers Association. Today I say that tomorrow will just have to take a back seat because t-o-d-a-y is where we live. Tomorrow---who knows? When you live with someone that lives each day with a chronic illness like MS, todays are really all we have. Tomorrow is simply a today yet to come.
President Bush, in proclaiming November to be National Family Caregivers Month, said the following. "During National Family Caregivers Month we recognize and celebrate the many individuals throughout our country who work each day to ensure a better quality of life for their family members. Through their selfless action, these caregivers provide their loved ones support and comfort as they age, combat illness, or suffer from disability."
What better way to ensure your loved one's happiness tomorrow than to go the extra mile and do what it takes to make them happy today?