I got Caregiver Devotions To Go by Gigi Devine Murfitt from a Kindle sale a few years ago, and it has been sadly languishing on my Kindle app since then. I just recently rediscovered it and thought it was the perfect time to read it.
Gigi writes from the perspective of a daughter who helped her “widowed and disabled mother as she cared for her ten children” and then later cared for her mom when she was older, and then as a mother of a son with special needs. In some cases her definition of a caregiver broadens to include teachers, firefighters, etc. She shares here 30+ short (a little over 2 pages each on my device) devotional thoughts on various aspects of caregiving. Each one includes a Scripture verse, several paragraphs, a prayer, and activity ideas.
The devotionals cover a variety of topics, from acceptance to finding strength to showing love to our need and the provision for forgiveness when we fail. One of my favorites was when a friend wrote a letter to Gigi’s son after he was born with arms only 3 inches long, saying that he was as fearfully and wonderfully made as anyone else and that she was looking forward to see how God worked in and through him. Another was when her sister, after finding her mother in “a five pound, urine soaked diaper” at her nursing home more than once, even after speaking to the nurses about it, asked if she could visit with the staff. She thought she was just going to have a meeting with the nurses and aides who cared for her mom specifically, but she found when she arrived that she was the guest speaker for a staff meeting of about 60 people. She talked about what residents gave up to live in the nursing home – homes, pets, most possessions, autonomy, etc., and emphasized their need for compassion, pointing out that “for many of them, the caregivers were the only contact they had on a daily basis. A touch, a smile, a gentle response, an ‘I care about you’ attitude could make a bleak day brighter.” She asked them to treat the residents as they would want their own family members taken care of. When my mother-in-law was in various facilities, I often wished I could address her caregivers, but I never thought to ask. My husband did speak to the person in charge more than once, but I would have loved to gently urge everyone to remember that these are people they are dealing with, not just tasks, and to treat them as they themselves would want to be treated in the same situation. Now I find myself needing to be reminded of the same truths.
Though not every entry applied to my situation, and though I would differ with the author on a couple of issues, overall I benefited much from this book, and I think any caregiver would as well.
(This review will also be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday Review of Books.)