It is National Heroes’ Day here in Jamaica and when I think about real, everyday heroes, I can’t help but think about caregivers. Who is a hero, you may ask? Well, according to Merriam Webster, a hero is “an illustrious warrior”, “one who shows great courage” and “a person admired for noble qualities”. Guys, based on this, clearly caregivers are heroes.
An Illustrious Warrior
Caregivers, you are renowned, brave and experienced fighters. You make it your point of duty to bust down doors and create new pathways. You may feel down at times and yes, you may need to stop for a while and cry, but you do not give up. You do not scoff at small steps, because you know they add up. You are on a journey, oftentimes without a road map, but you do not let this stop you. You believe in finding a way and if it comes down to it, you will make your own way.
You also fight for yourself…your dreams, your goals, your life. This is an incredibly hard feat, as most persons lose themselves and forget about their own dreams. Not you! You are determined, even if it means taking one hour out of each day to focus on you…maybe 5 minutes in the early morning before everyone else wakes up, maybe 10mins out of your lunchtime at work…whatever the case…you realize the importance of being your best self. You are a warrior…for your family AND yourself!
One Who Shows Great Courage
Being given a child or family member with Down Syndrome and then have life basically tell you to go and figure it out would be daunting for anyone…and understandably so. You could have chosen to give up several times. You could have chosen not to ask for help when you needed it. The truth is, it takes great courage to admit that you need help and you have displayed such courage. You recognize that indeed “it takes a village” and you have put yourself out there, meeting new people and establishing relationships, just so that you can be the best caregiver possible. You are indeed brave!
You also have the courage to stand up not only for your loved one, but also for yourself. You matter. You too are important. In a world where things are so fast paced and it seems like there are never enough hours in a day, you ensure that your needs are met, which may mean saying “No” to some persons or activities. This is incredibly brave of you in a world that can be so critical and cruel. But courage is not for the faint of heart…and faint you are not!
A Person with Noble Qualities
You believe that persons with disabilities are human beings and should be treated as such. You advocate for their dignity and for them to be shown respect. You encourage society to value the lives of persons with Down Syndrome and to give them fair opportunities in education, employment, etc.
It is so important in today’s world that we spread love and not hate, that we encourage each other instead of tearing each other down, that we help each other (no matter how small the action) rather than ignore each other and tell ourselves not to get involved. You are an advocate. A voice for the voiceless. A champion for dignity and respect.
Celebrate Yourself Today!
So, Happy Heroes Day to ALL caregivers! You are truly amazing. Acknowledge your awesomeness today. Treat yourself today. You are so valuable to your town, city and country. I salute you today, caregiver. You are indeed a brave and noble warrior.
Caregivers…you are loved…you are recognized. We see you and we celebrate you today!