• Shades of Color

A Day For Those Who Truly Care

Updated: Feb 22


National Caregivers Day is on the third Friday in February - which in 2020 falls on February 21st. Started in 2016, it sets to honor the health care professionals across the country providing long-term and hospice care. "Around the nation dedicated health care professionals serve those who require long-term or hospice care. They provide vital services, reassuring patients and families who care about them. Caregivers deliver a variety of duties from personal care to medical services with compassion and professionalism. Their days may be long and demanding, but they provide support to those who need it most."


Caregiving is by no means an easy job so we are all here for the richly deserved recognition. My Grandma spent the last few years of her life with home-aids and medical professionals that treated her in the house. They even provided in-home ministry so she could commune and continue with Bible study. At 98 she was very frail and making it down the two flights of stairs just to get to the car eventually proved to be too daunting for frequent excursions. Her live-in home-aid and full medical team allowed her to preserve a quality of life that she had become accustomed to, AND she was able to stay in her own home which is one of the greatest gifts she could have ever received. I salute you.

Caregiving takes many shapes and forms, however, so today I would like to extend the honor not just to the professional caregivers, but also those that have had to step into the role for their own family members. Those brave, dedicated and unsung heroes that give unbridled support in any way that they can muster - the visitors, the chauffeurs, the cooks, the food blenders, the shoppers, the bill payers, the appointment makers, the medicine administrators, the organizers, the entertainers, the listeners. The ones that wake up in the middle of the night and are up at the crack of dawn. The ones who think of what is needed before they are even asked. The list is endless for those that are continually out there in the trenches doing whatever it takes to improve the lives of someone close to them who is going through. This too, on top of their own lives and responsibilities, is not an easy job.

My Grandma's children were admirable caregivers. They did all of the above and beyond... Grandma never felt alone or like she was in this by herself. Her children put their dreams on hold to support her to the very end. If that doesn't deserve a cape I don't know what does!! I salute you.

A friend of mine moved her mother next door so that she could be closer for all of her much needed appointments and daily care. She takes her to appointments. She does the chores that no one else wants to do. She does it against resentment. She does it against her own fears. She does it sometimes against her own healthcare. She is not a professional but she sure can write the book on the highs and lows of what being a daughter is truly about. She deserves a shot out for everything she does and all that will continue to come her way. I salute you.

11 months. For 11 months I too was a form of a caregiver. My family member had stage 3 breast cancer. It was daunting. It was terrifying. It was a true test of faith. As a caregiver sometimes you don't get to indulge in having or facing your feelings. Sometimes your job is to be the strong one. The funny one. The cheerleader. The believer. In terms of responsibility I had it relatively easy. There were a few appointments I went to, a few meals I prepared... My mother ended up filling in much of the harder tasks. What I had to learn was how I could be there and add my own type of "care" when I had no idea what that might look like. When someone close to us is going through we can ask, "What can I do?," but that really puts the weight on the recipient, doesn't it? In our eleven month journey I learned how to think out of the box and just SHOW UP - show up with practical items that I know would improve her situation, show up by binge watching tv with her all day to keep her company, show up by not treating her differently but still allowing her to fall into my safety net if she needed to. To others that have been in this role, I salute you.

I have learned that being on the side lines is a tough job too. Feeling paralyzed by not being able to directly cure or rid a disease or situation lends to unwanted helplessness. From what I have witnessed as I continue towards true adulthood is that the support team, those in the shadows, also have an incredibly important task. So to all of you... I personally thank and applaud you. Keep up the good work. Push through the obstacles.Don't listen to the naysayers. These are times that we can never get back - let's live them without regret and perform the services that God has lifted us up to perform. Let's shine our light down in the lowest depths of darkness. This is a tribute to you, your light and all of your sacrifices...

Artwork in this article has been provided by the Shades of Color family of artists: Humility (by Annie Lee), Sistah I Got Your Back (by Kerream Jones), Never Miss A Chance To Shine Your Light (by Cidne Wallace), and Now and Forever (by Larry Poncho Brown).

For more products with inspiring Black Art please visit www.ShadesGifts.com

- Written by Janine Kai Robinson

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