The Superheroes of Love

posted in: Encouragement | 5

Christmas is all about togetherness and no one understands that more than the Hallmark Channel. As everyone who is also tracking the Countdown to Christmas with the Hallmark Christmas app knows (please don’t tell anyone), nothing complicated is ever supposed to happen. In a movie that could be called “Christmas, Christmas Back Again,” travelers may accidentally stumble upon the town of Evergreen and be swept up in a holiday romance for the first time after the death of a spouse, but the handsome widow will fall head-over-heels with zero signs of residual trauma or lingering grief. ALL GOOD! Their children are very eager to find a new mom and drink hot chocolate while having a very extended conversation about the next intergenerational Christmas community dance.

As much as I love the Christmas Nostalgia Machine (AND I DO!), we don’t usually get a lot of permission to say the following undeniable truth: the fragility of the people we love makes Christmas layered with a lot of different feelings. Love. Nostalgia. Grief. Worry. Joy. Want of more cookie making (or eating). Especially for caregivers.

Caregivers are those people who are in it for the long haul of loving someone. They can be far away or down the hall, but they are checking in with the doctors or asking if you slept. They are bearing weight in an ecosystem of care that might be super, absurdly heavy. I wanted to devote a little time to thinking about these beautiful people, who might be especially tired around the holidays when the work around the house (and all the Christmas preparations) can really pile up.

On this week’s podcast episode, I get the chance to talk to the superhero of love, Mark Lukach, to ask him more about how he loved his wife after her psychotic break. I have to say—I learned a lot about the double experience of love and exhaustion that caregivers experience. And so much of it is hidden in plain sight. It can be really hard to notice the person beside the one who is the patient or sufferer.

We live in webs of love and obligation and pain and joy. So as we are scribbling out the last Christmas cards and trying to figure out who gets the Christmas cake (UGH! WHY IS IT SO GROSS AND MADE ANNUALLY!), let’s send a little goodness and light to the people who are carrying love on their backs.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

God of compassion and love,
we offer you all our suffering and pain.
Give us strength to bear our weakness,
healing even when there is no cure,
peace in the midst of turmoil,
and love to fill the spaces on our lives. Amen.

-from Service of Prayer for Healing, Iona Abbey Worship Book

5 Responses

  1. Barb Fenkner

    Kate, I can not stand to watch those Hallmark feel good shows. They make me feel like a looser, by comparison. Just had to tell you. More later!🌞. Barb

  2. Mary

    Oh Kate, You’ve done it again.
    Another beautiful interview that hit home, touched my heart, made me cry and left me wanting more.
    You rock!

  3. J

    Kate, I love your podcasts, your posts and tweets. You have a profound ministry to this caregiver. You have such a depth of understanding life from so many angles, thank you for sharing your life and thoughts with the rest of us in the midst of your own personal journey.
    I am a caregiver for my mom and the word “dementia” upended our lives. I’ve had a life full of loving my family and ministering to others, once my mom was diagnosed I became the “there’s always one person.” My mom was the greatest mom and best person I’ve ever known, there was never any doubt that I would walk through this journey with my mom who had been widowed about 10 years when this dreaded word was spoken. Now, almost 7 years later, I’m thankful that I could be there for my mom. Caregiving is lonely and people are uncomfortable knowing that someone has dementia. We feel tired, concerned and want to do our best and sometimes we wish we could run away.
    My husband has been a loving support to my mom and to me, my rock. I’ve felt pretty abandoned by family and friends. The hardest is family. But we don’t get to choose how people respond to needs, I’m thankful to say that my husband, mom and I are “true believers .” We cherish the times that we’ve experienced together and we are now in that part where mom doesn’t always know us, it’s ok, we still know who she is. …… our precious Mom.

  4. Jeanne

    Kate Bowler has a BLOG?! AND a podcast?! This makes me happy. Your voice is priceless to me. Priceless.

    There is SO much I want to say on this post, on your interviews, your “Everything Happens for a Reason…” book, your work and perspective surrounding the “prosperity gospel”, and how it ALL ties in to my mother’s very unnecessary early death from very treatable Breast Cancer. A tragedy *heavily* influenced by the prosperity gospel. But time and common sense dictate that I save those words for a later time in more easily managed bites of time.

    So for now I’ll just say THANK YOU.
    Thank you sharing your experience and perspective that’s NOT tied up in a neat & tidy little Hallmark Channel Christmas bow. Thank you for all of it.

    Wishing you and your family a VERY Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And all those other priceless, uneventful days in between and after.

  5. Susan Morgan

    Well – you have done it again! You hit the nail on the head of the sadness some of us feel; for our illness and the seeing the pain and fear our loved ones are feeling. I kept thinking as I put out Christmas that it may be my last so enjoy it damnit! Without Hallmark! Give me the old Alistair Sims Christmas Carol.

    I love you, Kate. Thank you also for helping me cry, because I needed to.

    PS – some of those books 1-17? Really?

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