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Walking down the driveway yesterday I saw an unmistakeable sign, hanging like an ornament on the fence by the hayfield. Glenda, the goddess in charge of minor miracles for caregivers, has placed a heart here to say, “You are loved.”

When you are loved, as you are, it is important to realize that you are worthy of love. This is not the love of an infatuated adolescent, who does not see the dirt under his beloved’s fingernails. You are known and loved. I know there is dirt under your fingernails. I know how you bit back the urge to clobber your patient when he unloaded seventeen boxes of crap from the garage and placed the items in a row on all the windowsills. The rage and annoyance and despair that welled up in you made you later wish you could have been more understanding and kind, but you were not. You were exasperated, which does not in any way diminish how lovable you are.

Sometimes you talk to yourself inside your head using harsh words. You tell yourself you should be more patient, more supportive, more understanding, more forgiving, better groomed, and good lord, when was the last time you vacuumed?

At the Bossy Spa this morning the sun was shining through the windows highlighting the dog hair on the hardwood floors. If I were to vacuum, I could gather enough fur to make a whole new dog, roughly the color of 1/3 Annie and 2/3 Ginger, who has a thicker coat. Did I vacuum? Not so far. I am having a cup of English breakfast tea in the sunshine on the porch.

Forgiveness is first for yourself. Your primary job, before your job as a caregiver, is to forgive yourself for all the things you think you should do, for all the ways you think you should be. This is a hard job, but you can do it.

A green and yellow leafy heart follows you throughout the day to remind you that you are loved and lovable.

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