The fountain by the stone cottage at the Bossy Spa froze into two solid blocks of ice, covered with ice crystals, with icicles dripping down from the top. The frozen fountain is as beautiful as when it is flowing. I suspect Glenda, the goddess in charge of minor miracles for caregivers, is responsible for the dusting of ice crystals over the sheet of ice. That is just her style, making things more beautiful than necessary. For several days temperatures have stayed below freezing.

When the dogs get back from their walks they run over to the fountain for a drink. When they encounter the icy surface they lick it like small children with popsicles.

Ginger does well in the cold. She has long fur and a thick undercoat (that sheds the equivalent of a small chihuahua every week), so she easily overheats and can withstand very cold weather. Annie is less cold tolerant. Her coat is sleek with a light waxy coating and no undercoat. In addition to pit bull, she probably has some kind of water dog breed in her heritage. On cold morning walks Annie runs in big circles, so she is always moving to keep warm.

The dogs and we refuse to be cooped up in the cold. We bundle up and go out even in the sleet, and then come back and dry off in front of the fire. We really enjoy being outside, and coming in out of the cold feels good too.

In Texas if you are going to let the weather trap you indoors, you won’t go out all blistering hot summer, and once you learn to deal with that, the Texas version of winter is a snap.

Find a way to get out in nature today, even if it is cold. Even a short foray out your back door into the yard will invigorate you. When you come back inside, have a warm drink.

I recently learned something a little scary. About 40% of caregivers die before their patient does. Caregiving takes a toll on you. Even if your only goal is to be there for your loved one, you still must make yourself as a priority.

When I ask you to do these little things for yourself, please do them. I want to ask you to do big things to make your life less stressful, but I know you cannot fit them in. So mindfully do this small thing. Go outside, whatever the weather, for at least ten minutes. Breathe. Have a warm drink when you come back in. That’s it.

These little things make a difference. When you intentionally choose to do something for yourself, even a ten-minute something, you are saying that your patient is not the only one who matters. You matter too.

2 thoughts on “Icicles

  1. 40 percent??? Yikes. I never cared too much about being one of the majority, but that’s definitely where I want to be in this case.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This statistic is from a 2002 Stanford study, which actually says 40% of caregivers die from a stress-related disorder before their patient dies. It is a sobering number, even though, as you point out, the majority of caregivers do outlive the person in their care. Take care of yourself, dear Julie.


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