For us, summer ends a lot like it began … with a bittersweet farewell.
Goodbyes & Gratitude
My dad passed away in June after a sudden stroke. I had anticipated a long journey following his dementia diagnosis almost two years ago. My heart hurts because I thought I’d have more time with him. But at the same time, I’m aware that he likely would have suffered more had the disease progressed.
While I’ll never face the day when my beloved father stopped recognizing me, I’ll never hear his soft voice call me “Sugar” again. I’ll miss him dearly. But of course he lives on in my heart and our journey together continues to inspire Kadamba’s work.
A blog post doesn’t afford enough space to name all of the friends, volunteers and partners -including VITAS Healthcare and the National Alliance for Caregiving- who’ve extended support and encouragement. Thank you so very much.
We also said goodbye to volunteers who recently moved on to new professional and academic opportunities. Their dedication and support helped sustain our work during my bereavement leave. It also afforded me time to begin coming to terms with the shift in my identity as a caregiver.
On behalf of Kadamba and myself, I bid each of you our utmost gratitude, a fond farewell and best wishes in your future endeavors.
In particular, we extend thanks to Montana Crider.
We welcomed Montana as an extern during her last semester at Episcopal High School. This fall she will begin studies in communications at Hampton University. She did an excellent job and I highly recommend the school’s externship program to anyone interested in engaging bright young people in your organization’s mission.
Before graduation, Montana did a presentation on her time at Kadamba which included this newsletter: Spring 2015 Update.
We also thank Health Services for Children With Special Needs, Inc (HSCSN) and its Male Caregiver Advocacy Support Group. This summer we shared an adaptation of Rosalynn Carter Institute’s “Caring for Caring for Me” with HSCSN. It was an engaging and empowering experience for all. Thanks HSCSN for welcoming me and helping me get back in the facilitator saddle after losing my dad.
Our adaptation of CYCM included an interactive module on applying caregiving skills and using reliable online health information in a caregiving case study. You can find out more about this adaptation and our outreach efforts in our recent webinar for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Southeastern/Atlantic Region:
Hellos & Hope
Like many people, I feel a bit of Labor Day malaise. But mostly, I’m excited about the work ahead and the potential to help other family caregivers experience the kind of support Kadamba’s community offered me. Indeed, we have a lot to look forward to this fall, including:
– Hosting insightful speakers for our monthly Lunch & Learns (second Thursdays);
– Launching our new Caregiver Cafe on the third Tuesday of each month;
– Disseminating caregiver interventions like Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver Health;
– Offering tools and resources for bereaved caregivers; and
– Developing new programs and partnerships to bring creativity, artistic expression and respite to family caregivers.
With your support we can do all of this and more. Here’s how you can help us make an impact on the lives of caregivers and their loved ones:
– volunteering your time;
– sponsoring a Lunch & Learn or Caregiver Cafe;
– or making a monetary contribution.
Thanks for helping family caregivers blossom.
Karen is a Certified Program Leader for the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving’s Caring for Me, Caring for You Program and a Master Trainer for RCI’s Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer’s Caregiver’s Health (REACH) program. These evidence- backed programs offer education and support for family caregivers.