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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Joys of Youth: The Olive Effect

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. ~Psalm 71:17 –18

This is Olive. She's my mom and dad's great-grandchild. Olive is three years old and seems to get a second wind every half hour or so. She has another weapon ... pure joy!
This weapon, Dad says, is not fair. It makes him laugh even when he doesn't want to. 
We’ve had a rough week. Our dear doctor decided, after a year and 3 months, to take out Dad’s catheter. I know, TMI, right? 

It's another new beginning, and yet another frustrating lesson for Dad to learn. More research for me, of course, and praying for an extra dose of patience, love, and understanding. Yet, for those moments when he gets it ... well, it’s a little bit like when your toddler finally makes it to the bathroom by herself. O, the joy! Nonetheless, our joy meter seemed depleted, our happy tank on empty, until little Olive came to visit. 
Entertainment by a 3-year-old with energy someone, someday, will learn how to bottle, makes an old man forget his bouts with mild depression and boredom. Yes, Olive managed to make great-grandpa and great-grandma laugh—even, or especially, when she got another second wind and sprinted up and down the hallway with Mira, our 6-year-old husky, yelling, "Come get me!" Olive is the chaos that brings joy. It's good to laugh, Caregiver. It's also great to hear laughter from the one you're taking care of.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The Lord hath done great things for them. ~Psalm 126:2

Request nicely from family members, and friends, to come visit. We realize it's difficult when they live far away, but request anyhow. It's a chance to catch up and perhaps a few hours of rest for you, the caregiver. Take any opportunity to rest. And more importantly, hanging out with younger adults and children really does restore energy, and bring happiness to an aging grandfather who's suffering from dementia. 

Like actor, Michael J. Fox once said, "Family is not an important thing. It’s everything."

A Caregiver's Prayer

Dear Lord, restore unto me your joy. I want to laugh again. Show me that with you, life is never boring, it's a great adventure. Make each morning new, filled with your blessings and wonder. May I greet each day with a song and rise above those things that would anchor me down. This is the day that you have made, let me be glad in it.

My Beloved Caregiver

I long to fill your days with joy
To fill your days with laughter
To hear sweet giggles fill the air
With happy ever afters

With summer breezes dance, my friend
With fall enjoy the harvest
With winter snow be blessed anew
With spring sing out My praises

I will fill your nights with peace
With rest, 
Spirit reborn
New life at dawn 

I will fill your days with hope
With love
And every good thing from above
(Copyright 2018, by Deborah L. Alten)


  1. Beautiful post. You have such a talent for capturing these moments in words that touch us. Olive made me smile. I love the poem

  2. I love this perspective - it would be easy for you to see the frustration in the new situation as far as the catheter goes. And yet, the joy that Olive portrays in that picture alone is enough to bring a smile to anyone's face, and you are right, just that moment of reprieve can make a world of difference!

  3. Oh, how true! I loved to see my parents come alive when there were children around. What a repreive for the caregiver, as well! Thank you for sharing.