If I was President, I’d invite every caregiver to the White House. You would emerge from a limo in your finest clothes onto a red carpet, temporarily blinded by camera flashes. Once inside, I would place a medal of honor around your neck and give you a hug. This is what I would say.
I see you. I see your late nights and early mornings. I see the job or career you had to leave in order to care for your loved one, and I see the consequences of that loss of income and benefits. I see your frustration with insurance companies and bureaucracy and the hours you spend on the telephone. I see the strains on your marriage and relationships with family and friends. I see you spending your savings to care for your loved one and I see your fear of having nothing left for your own care. I see the deep breaths you take before you repeat what you just said — for the tenth time in two minutes. I see your grief each time your loved one looks at you and has no idea who you are. I see your heartbreak when your loved one is suffering and you can’t do anything to help.
When I look at you, I see courage. Behind that courage, and behind the stress, anxiety, exhaustion, frustration, grief, joy, and fear, I see your love.
Thank you for all you do, for your compassion, generosity, patience, courage, and love. Thank you on behalf of loved ones who no longer know what you’re doing for them or who cannot communicate their thanks. And thank you, on behalf of our nation, for your selflessness, the example you set for others, and for caring. You are deeply and profoundly appreciated.