a festive manifestation of caregiver stress

Some days being around people who have Alzheimer’s is a dark struggle. It can be so mentally exhausting that you wonder, “how am I even doing this?” and your heart hurts for the sweet people who have to bear up under it. Monday was one of those days.

As the caregiver, though, you can’t just run away or bury your head in a pillow! In the moment, you have to just keep going. The stress is still there though, and sometimes (for me at least) it comes out in strange ways.

Listening to the player piano is something my client enjoys doing in the evenings. So we were sitting there and she was nodding off a bit and I picked up a nearby magazine. A tourism magazine for the state of South Dakota. I paged through it, excited to see places where my family had gone camping back in the day.

Then I read: “Every year in the capitol building in Pierre, SD, there are 100 Christmas trees on display, decorated by native South Dakotans.”

Tears in my eyes, I gulped and slowly shook my head back and forth, “How great of them! So… brave…” and I pictured the lights on the Christmas trees, shining out into the cold South Dakota winter nights…

Then I came back the air conditioned room and the slight creepiness of a player piano and the poor little lady in the wheelchair next to me. I came back to reality, and rolled my eyes at myself, and said to myself, “WOW.”

However, I can’t deny it: the Christmas tree tradition of South Dakota’s capitol warmed my heart. Just a little.


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