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Posted: September 22, 2005

Spousal Caregiving

What God Would Say to Caregivers

Bill Andrew

Have you ever thought about what God would say to you as a spousal caregiver -- especially about the type of tender loving care you are providing for your spouse? I have often wondered about that myself, and I think that God would simply say, "Thank you." As spousal caregivers, as with all caregivers, we rely on a lot of prayer to get us through our rough days. Many times we feel that God is not listening to us -- but He is!

Let me serve up another "bowl of caregiver's chicken soup" direct from the book Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul. This story helped me to put my own spousal caregiving role into perspective; I hope that it does yours. Once again, LeAnn Thieman, L.P.N., and her co-authors have done just that in this story that makes us humble and grateful to God for the favors and help that He sends to us.

LeAnn has shared spousal caregiving stories in previous columns and will do so in succeeding columns as well. The "good medicine" that is inherent in chicken soup, as documented in various clinical studies, helps to support all caregivers through the stories in this must-read book for caregivers. I hope the occasional stories that LeAnn shares with us, both in the book and in this column, will lift your spirits, nourish your soul, and remind your that others understand what you are going through as a spousal caregiver.

The fifth story that LeAnn would like to share with us can be found on page 344 of Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul. LeAnn offers this personal thought-provoking insight into this story -- "While this story is not about spousal care itself, what it does do is address all caregivers in a way that warms the 'cockles of your heart' -- I know that it did mine!" And it also did mine!

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What God Would Say to Caregivers?

"Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least of my brothers, you did for me."

Matthew 25:40

 I want to thank you for all the love, kindness, hope, comfort, and dignity you give to those you care for. It is your strength and caring that make a difference, for without you their lives would be unbearable. I know because I hear from those you care for. They thank me that you are there for them. They tell me they don’t know what they would do without you. They ask me to watch over you. They tell me of their love for you and about your sacrifices for them. You bring joy into their world and you comfort them in a way no one else can.

I thank you.

I know that you not only care for their bodies but care for their spirits as well. You strive to make their days as pleasant as can be, despite the pain, by doing their hair, painting their nails, putting up drawings from their grandchildren, bringing flowers from your yard, listening to a ballgame with them, taking them for a walk…you do anything you can think of to bring a smile to their faces. I know you will never give up.

I love you.

I know your rewards are the little things you experience each day, the grateful look you see in their eyes, the occasional laugh that brightens your day, the warm hug you receive when you leave, and the gentle squeeze of your hand as they thank you for being there. These rewards are the small heartfelt things that allow you to go on.

I am so very proud of you.

I want you to know that I have been with you and will be with you always to give you strength as you perform the endless duties of a caregiver. I have felt your despair and loneliness. I am the one who whispers in your ear when your heart is breaking and you feel you can’t go on. I am the one who gives you strength when you are exhausted physically and mentally. Know that I will always be with you. Lean on me. I will always wrap my loving arms around you and give you hope, and love, and comfort and the strength go on.

I thank you, I love you, and I am so very, very proud of you.

-- Paula Ezop

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(What God Would Say to Caregivers is reprinted by written permission of Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul. To learn more about this book and caregiving issues, contact the co-author, LeAnn Thieman, professional speaker, author, and nurse at her website.)

WORDS TO CARE BY . . .

"You, God, are my strength…

Send your light and fidelity

that they may be my guide."

(Psalm 43: 2-3)


Bill Andrew identifies himself as a former “nutritionally-empowered Alzheimer’s caregiver” who attributes the slow-down in progression of Alzheimer’s disease in his wife, Carol – and the growth of his own personal emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual capability and strength to provide quality 24/7 care for her in their own home – to the targeted nutritional supplements they both took on a daily basis. Carol went to her Heavenly reward on June 9, 2008 – Bill continues on to advocate for family caregivers. Contact Bill with your caregiving questions and comments via email at ASKBill@caregivershome.com.

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© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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