Thank a caregiver. This sentence is simple, yet so complex. We see this sentence posted on the Tennessee Respite Coalition website, social media pages, at events and spoken so often. As I reflect on who I personally need to thank, many are often nameless faces who have given selflessly without the need for a thank you. These are the people who have chosen caregiving as a career path or have a passion for volunteering. Other individuals for whom I can name, come in the form of family, friends and neighbors.
The first and one of the most impactful names that comes to mind is my NeNe (grandmother). She spent over 20 years taking care of my Ganpa (grandfather) after he suffered through multiple strokes starting in his late 50s. Knowing now about the services TRC offers to caregivers across Tennessee, I know she would have greatly benefited from some respite over those 20 years. I was never able to share my thanks to her because she passed away before I was wise enough to understand the sacrifices she made.
Other names include my own mom, who cared for my father during the last years of his life. To you please accept this proper thank you for all that you have done.
The art of sitting down with crisp stationery and ink pen to write thank you notes has largely become a thing of the past. However, we now communicate with one another at a rapid pace through a variety of mediums, such as email, social media, texting and cell phones. We have no excuse to neglect expressing our gratitude to someone who has provided care to our loved ones. I challenge each of you to leverage the communication method of your choice today and thank a caregiver who has impacted your life.
– Sara Blackwell McNally, TRC board member