Day 2: Just Call Me

Caregiving is an Art – Listen to its Beauty

There is a nostalgia to music that often runs parallel to families and communities.

When we hear a familiar song, we’re instantly connected to a time and place. We remember the people there and the emotions felt. The first few chords of Canon in D (Pachelbel) transport me to my wedding day – to the beginning of the ceremony and to the excitement and nervousness felt about beginning a new chapter. The sound of an organist playing the first keys of On Eagle’s Wings—referred to as the Irish Catholic Funeral March in my family—provokes a sense of loss, sadness and uncertainty. Or the sound of Sweet Caroline, the Neil Diamond classic and unofficial anthem of the Red Sox, pumping through Fenway Park during the 7th inning stretch. Visions of fans with arms locked, swaying and bellowing the lyrics, regardless of whether the Sox were winning or down 10 runs. I find myself flush with emotions – pride, belonging, whimsy – of feeling present in a moment and the creation of a future memory.

That’s the power music has over our emotions, and the answer to why it’s arguably the most popular and appreciated form of art in our current culture.

I consider caregiving a form of art, too.

Caregiving is a blend of compassion, purpose, vulnerability and a deep, earnest love that when combined, elicit a powerful human connection. To watch a daughter, tend to her ailing father’s needs – maintaining composure and kindness even when his behavior is erratic, when his dementia causes him to be mean spirited and challenges every ounce of patience she can muster – is to see beauty there. To witness a weary husband, trying to muster a smile as he covers his wife’s lap with a blanket to give her warmth and comfort in a time where she feels anything but, beauty is there.  Or to see a young man, advocating for his older brother left disabled from an accident, to ensure he is treated respectfully and surrounded by open hearts and not empty stares. Beauty is there.

There’s no greater beauty, nor more expressive form of art than that of the family caregiver selflessly putting their own lives on hold to care and support a loved one in need. I’m not alone in seeing the connection. The phrase “the art of caregiving” has been used in books, blogs and in videos over the past decade – with the renowned author and aging expert Teepa Snow among them.

Why not combine, then, the lesser-known “art” of caregiving with the most popular form, music? The combination would reflect the beauty, the grit, the tears, and the love central to the caregiving journey.

That’s why my colleagues and I were compelled to create a song to recognize the 44 million most remarkable, dedicated men and women among us that have put family first. To celebrate their value and the inspiration they are.

We hope that “Just Call Me” will be a song that transports you into the world of the family caregiver.  The work they do, the love they give and the isolation they often feel. It’s time to recognize the beauty in their journey.

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Day 29: Jackee and Shirley
Day 29: Jackee and Shirley