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“Now it’s time to take care of you.”

This week’s blog features our friend Catherine Hinz. Catherine is the founder and CEO of Beyond Words Co., a care package company on a mission to ensure no one feels alone through life’s hardest times. Catherine launched Beyond Words Co. in the midst of her own grief experience and leaned on her decade-long career in patient safety to intentionally design care packages that support the healing of mind, body, and spirit. Her business and family are based in St Paul, Minnesota.

“Now it’s time to take care of you.”

It’s a phrase I often write in a card when sending a care package to a caregiver. I’ve sent thousands of care packages for many different kinds of loss—death of a loved one, pregnancy loss, new or worsening medical diagnosis, divorce, pet loss, and job loss. When writing a card message for grief, we typically encourage senders to refrain from specific advice lest it feel like pressure on a recipient of what they should or shouldn’t do as they are grieving.

However, it gives me pause to think about how this frequent reminder to caregivers might be a much-needed nudge. In my experience, there is no other group other than caregivers who are so overtly invited to take time for themselves. I think it’s because many individuals and families know the toll that caregiving can take. Alongside the love and honor that comes in giving your all to care for another person—often putting them first—the other side of the same coin is fatigue, burnout, and ongoing worry and emotional burdens. The caregiver is often the last to see or admit the toll it is taking, and to step back to recharge, if only for moments at a time.

Those who witness what caregivers go through are more adamant in their kindest of reminders to try and encourage a moment for the caregivers to rest, to find calm and peace as they are able. Whether the loved one they are caring for has passed, or they are mid-stride in a marathon of caregiving, there is no better time than now to take a needed break. Perhaps those in the caregiver’s life are best positioned to raise the reminder flag, and lend whatever hand they can to make the break possible.

No matter who you are, or where you are in your hospice journey, you are The Heart of Hospice.

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