Being a caregiver, or as I prefer to say, a care partner, for a spouse or parent with a terminal illness is bittersweet during the holiday season. It’s a special time to share, perhaps even your last Christmas together, and you want to cherish every moment. Yet at the same time the stress of trying to keep up with long standing holiday traditions weighs heavily on you, both physically and emotionally.
It’s important to recognize and accept that you aren’t going to be able to manage everything you normally would during the holidays. Having friends and neighbours in for cocktails, visiting several friends or family over the course of two weeks, and having the whole family together for a huge feast, just isn’t practical when your loved one isn’t well enough to enjoy it. This year you might have to scale back Christmas dinner or have someone else in the family host it, and you and your loved one will both feel better if you focus on finding a couple of things you can do together to quietly celebrate the holidays and your relationship. Perhaps an evening of listening to holiday music cuddled up in front of the fireplace, or looking at photos from previous holiday celebrations while sipping a glass of eggnog.
One activity that you can support and assist your loved one with in the weeks leading up to Christmas is helping them write meaningful and heartfelt letters. Experts in palliative care say, that one of the top five regrets that terminal patients have as they near the end of their lives, is that they hadn’t expressed to a spouse, sibling, parent, or child how deeply they loved and appreciated them.
This type of communication is emotionally and spiritually vital for the person who is dying, but often they just don’t know how to start or how to find the right words. This is where you can help! Our Soul Letters Workbook walks you through the process step by step and includes word lists such as Characteristics, Adjectives, Virtues, and Talents. The steps help you figure out what to include in the letter and the lists help you find the right words to express how you feel.
Imagine the comfort a Soul Letter will bring as your family grieves their loss. Even years down the road, they will feel grateful that they have that letter of affirmation and love, to read whenever they need it. There truly is no better gift.