Usually, events that necessitate a goodbye are seen as sad… or at least poignant. In our younger years, we expected these goodbyes to be temporary — we knew we were going to see them again! As we get older, we start to understand that a goodbye may mean moving so far away that visiting will be unlikely and the relationship we loved may be permanently changed. And then come the goodbyes we know are final — the farewells at the end of a life that leave us with only memories of a loved one.
Waking each caregiving day and finding your loved one still breathing is another opportunity for you to cherish that life — an opportunity to set aside words spoken in frustration yesterday. Today is another opportunity to smooth the worried brow of a person unable to finish their days on Earth on their own terms. Today gives us another chance to learn better ways to say goodbye.
Although caregivers can get easily get caught up in a myriad of daily details that need constant attention, they also need to remember that caregiving is often a long, slow goodbye. Help ensure this final goodbye is a sweet one by telling your loved one what they want to hear from you — reassurance that you love them, what they mean to you and positive memories of the wonderful times you’ve shared.