by Susanna Bertelsen

caregiving daisies - SBs photo

Easter Season 2018 welcomes Spring upon the Minnesota landscape with new life and fresh possibilities for renewal.  These colorful daises in full bloom remind me of the energy that Easter promises and the fire of Pentecost’s Spirit.  Today, I reflect back to Easter Season 2002 when my life’s path took a significant turn of events.

I think about recent decades when I attempted to be long-distance caregiver and advocate to aging parents, and, to my brother who lived with them most of his life with Schizophrenia. In winter 2002, seven years after our father’s death, our mother died suddenly.  Consequently, amid the shock and turmoil, my brother moved from out of state to live with me and my family in Minnesota.  His challenges and mine became enmeshed to the point of crisis and chaos, until Vail Place services and NAMI MN support and educational resources came to our aid, along with participation in significant retreats leading to my seeking much needed spiritual care from a compassionate spiritual director.

Thanks to both secular and sacred support, many graced moments eventually restored my bruised resiliency, taught me ways to practice self-compassion in self-care, and rekindled the hope for my brother’s quality of life in Minnesota, as well as quality of life for myself and that of my family.

I invite those caring for loved ones experiencing long term physical or mental health challenges to join me at Loyola on Wednesday morning, April 25, from 9:00 am to noon for an information-filled and reflective Easter Season workshop on: Building Resiliency and Nurturing the Spirit of Caregivers.

We will consider major burdens that concern many family caregivers and identify personal strengths. We will explore proven Mind/Body/Spirit approaches to minimize or balance the stress confronting caregivers today.   Finally, we will reflect upon building resiliency, practicing self-care through self-compassion, and rediscovering hope, while using selected sacred scripture as well as secular and spiritual resources. This reflective workshop’s outcome offers suggested spiritual resources to begin or supplement a family caregiver’s “quality of life” toolkit.

For more information and to register online: