For a long time, I took a jaded view of Life and Family Care as a duty to care. But after going to a long, often painful, therapy session for very bad issues, a calm journey through the beauty of Art and the Magical Power of Music, and incredibly insightful and compassionate patient and staff at my lovely Tarzana, California facility, I was convinced that the costs and family burden are far outweighing the joy of taking care of our clients.
Here’s my Rx:
Help poor people with no connection to the American Family Care Service Center to share their rich stories with others. (Sole Survivors)
This simple but magical act of taking care of someone has a far better impact on the longevity of the relationship than a talk with a professional about inappropriate parenting, or abuse, or loneliness, or any number of other normal challenges the human body gives us. When we care, we see beauty in the grooves on our relationships, which we literally can leave where they belong, to be used by others and enjoyed, fulfilled.
Being a client/client/family member in the hospital or rehab makes me think of my “Grandma.”
My Grandma (a person who was not my mother, but important to me for time and opportunity, and indeed lucky to have had me) often came to me in her hospital bed to ask me about family. She was in her 70s and said, “Grandma, what are you doing? The entire family is here and it must be awful.”
“It is awful, Grandma,” I said. “You’re the biggest Sagittarius in a family of Sagittarians.” (We are on the small side; the area code is TSH: LGBTQ: Out Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender: Third Wave) “It must be, Grandma. My father died with a couple of thirds of the heart in his body. My mother was a poet, or some would say a therapy addict who wrote an art journal for her therapy self, who by one account wrote her favorite poem on his pillow, for which she collected scrapbooks of pictures and bookmarks, poetry that my mother was encouraged to write for him.
“I am a Sagittarius,” Grandma said with delight, squeezing my hand, which, with the relative physical and mental stuntedness of a Very Small Native American Indian.
“You are a Sagittarius,” I said again with more, this time without sneering, pulling back the sheets of my mattress. “Your heart is drawn to you,” I said finally as she finished slipping into a puddle of her own un-lodged spleen.
I was tired, hankering for chocolate and the promise of a beautiful marathon film.
You take great care of me. It’s been such a long and hard day. I was, in fact, exhausted when I walked through the doors that day.