space
space
Peshtigo Times
space
space
space
Perspectives
* From our readers
space
space
Sports Shorts
* Area Football
* Area Volleyball
* Area Cross Country
* Rule Regarding Deer Carcass Transportation Suspended
* Northern Lake Michigan Fisheries Team Report

space
Peshtigo Fire
space
e-Edition
Now Available
For more information
click here
dot
THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
space
dot
space

From My Window

Issue Date: April 26, 2017

The Vigil

By Jane Thibodeau Martin,

I am now at the age where I have been through quite a few of those life-changing times where a much-loved family member becomes seriously ill; a parent passes away; and friends die. Each one of those experiences changes a person, and each time a lesson can be learned, if you look for it.

I was reminded of this when a friend recently passed away at home, as she wished, after fighting "the good fight" against a terminal illness. I helped care for her during the last few weeks of life, and was witness to the amazingly creative gestures of care thoughtful people make at such times.

Of course, a phone call or card for the patient is always welcome. But sometimes people are exceptionally thoughtful, and it is inspiring to see how they leverage their knowledge of the patient to make a very personal gesture.

The friend who was ill loved to garden, but it was a bit early in the season here to have planted the window boxes she took such pride in. But a neighbor made the window boxes bloom with potted flowers from a greenhouse stacked inside the flower boxes. The view from the patient's sick bed was of bright, healthy mid-spring flowers; the blooms lasting well beyond what cut flowers would, and also providing a cheery reminder of a favorite pastime.

Neighbors arrived to walk her beloved dog, or take her outside and throw the tennis balls she was obsessed with chasing. The dog got the exercise she needed and was accustomed to, while staying close at hand to her mistress. If the ill friend was sleeping, they didn't intrude, they just came, did their good deed, and departed.

Specific foods she liked were brought, and any whim around eating or drinks immediately met. A friend who shared her passion for the TV show "Dancing With the Stars" filled her in on the competitions while sitting at her bedside, once she was too weak to watch the show herself.

One super-organized friend arranged for carloads of coworkers to visit for very short periods, a different group of people every few days. It seemed the number and variety of coworkers who made time to come and visit surprised and pleased her very much, and having a number of them at the same time made for cheerful and comfortable visits at such a difficult time. Perhaps some of them would not have been brave enough to face the potentially grim situation alone, had they not had the company of others with them. With the chatter of the group, there was no worry about wondering what words to use; or what to say. Sometimes we let the stress of worrying about what will happen keep us away entirely. Call first and then stop in; the brief visits are the best ones.

But sometimes there is another part, "part two" of this vigil. I was taught about this part by my friend, Cathy, a coworker in Marinette. It came when I was incredibly sad about the terminal illness of a coworker I had the utmost respect for. He had mentored and taught me, and I was deeply grieved when he became homebound. I visited his bedside often, bringing treats, news from the workplace, or something to read. But one day when I called before coming to visit his wife said he was too ill for visitors. I was so saddened, I sought out Cathy to talk. She gave me her normal common-sense, tough love advice. (What a great person and teacher she is.) "He is beyond your help and reach on this journey," she said. "If you want to help now, care for his caregiver."

Now, this may be obvious to those of you who are wiser or more experienced, but it was a new concept to me. If I could no longer do something for the dying man, I could support his wife, whose situation was far more stressful, painful and difficult than my own. The role of primary caregiver is exhausting. While there is nothing the caretaker would prefer to do than fulfill that role, it takes a toll on the body, the spirit, and the mind.

So I brought home-cooked meals, quick to heat up. I dropped them at the front door without knocking, and then called to leave a message that it was there. I sent "thinking of you" cards to her, not him. I offered help mowing the lawn, or running errands, or to sit and be present while she showered.

I remember how grateful I was to one of my aunts, who sent a card to me while I kept watch at the hospital in Marshfield after my husband had a brain tumor removed. Every day a handful of cards from friends and relatives arrived for him, and I was surprised one day when one of the cards was addressed to me. In the card, my aunt shared her experiences caring for my uncle before he passed away, and how much it meant to her when someone acknowledged how difficult her situation was. This gesture of kindness meant so much to her then, she chose to share it with me, and at a time when I really needed the bright spot in my day.

I think the most important thing is to be brave, and unafraid to get involved to support the caregiver. It's nice to call and say "call me if you need anything," but it is much better to make a specific offer and focus on a need they may have. "I am going to the grocery store. What can I pick up for you?" "I am going to come and mow your lawn tomorrow, will that be alright?" "I know you like to go to church on Sunday, can I come and stay while you go?" Every one of us has some talent or ability to help at such times, we need not offer a service that makes us uncomfortable; rather, serve from your strength or your talent. No gesture is a waste, and the ordinary chores of life continue despite the crisis in the household. Help with the ordinary.

Reaching out to someone in their hour of need isn't always easy, or comfortable. But it is one of the kindest things you can do, and blessed are those who care for the caregivers.

If you remember some extremely thoughtful gesture, consider sharing it with me at the e-mail below, and I will share those ideas with readers in a future column.

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: Janiethibmartin@gmail.com.


Recent stories, opinions and photos

Issue Date Department Headline
10-11-2018Front Page
Six Fire Departments Battle Fire Sunday

10-11-2018Front Page
Large Crowd Attends Ceremony On Anniversary of Peshtigo Fire

10-11-2018Front Page
Town Of Peshtigo Okays 2019 Budget

10-11-2018Front Page
Coleman Board Views School Renovation Plans, Budget

10-11-2018Front Page
Look, Listen, Learn, Fire Prevention Week Theme

10-11-2018Front Page
George Webb Restaurants To Offer Free Burgers for 12 Game Win Streak

10-11-2018Sports
Area Football

10-11-2018Sports
Area Volleyball

10-11-2018Sports
Area Cross Country

10-11-2018Sports
Rule Regarding Deer Carcass Transportation Suspended

10-11-2018Sports
Northern Lake Michigan Fisheries Team Report

10-11-2018Community - Wausaukee
Silver Cliff Fire, Rescue Plan Hunters Bake Sale

10-11-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Holds 10th Successful Fall Fest

10-11-2018Community - Wausaukee
WBA Christmas in the Park Nov. 10th

10-11-2018Community - Crivitz
Booyah Fest Raises $3000 for Veterans

10-11-2018Community - Crivitz
Crivitz Legion Meets Oct. 17

10-11-2018Community - Crivitz
CPR Classes At Bellin Health Crivitz

10-11-2018Community - Crivitz
Fall Harvest Unity Dinner is Nov. 4th

10-11-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Lists Hours for Trick of Treat

10-11-2018Community - Coleman
Medicare/Medicaid Session at Library

10-11-2018Community - Coleman
Hearing Care Talk at Library

10-11-2018Community - Coleman
FCS Hosts Chili Cook-Off Nov. 2

10-11-2018Perspectives
From our readers

10-11-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-11-2018Perspectives
From My Window

10-11-2018Obituaries
John Barnes

10-11-2018Obituaries
Robert M. Burk

10-11-2018Obituaries
Edwin Charles

10-11-2018Obituaries
Carol A. Chudy

10-11-2018Obituaries
Laura M. Curle

10-11-2018Obituaries
Stanley J. Dudka III

10-11-2018Obituaries
Fred W. Edwards

10-11-2018Obituaries
Clifford R. Falstad

10-11-2018Obituaries
Monica T. Hodkiewicz  

10-11-2018Obituaries
Elaine J. Holloway

10-11-2018Obituaries
Harold K. Johnson

10-11-2018Obituaries
Scott W. Klitzke

10-11-2018Obituaries
Adolph A. Kowalkowski

10-11-2018Obituaries
Orlin A. Krieser

10-11-2018Obituaries
Mary K. Long

10-11-2018Obituaries
Robert Lurquin

10-11-2018Obituaries
Bernice Missal

10-11-2018Obituaries
Sally A. Olson

10-11-2018Obituaries
Connie Pesola

10-11-2018Obituaries
Marie G. Reichwald

10-11-2018Obituaries
Wayne Richards

10-11-2018Obituaries
Linda Szymczak

10-04-2018Front Page
30th Annual Historical Day is Huge Success

10-04-2018Front Page
Fire Commemorative Ceremony at Peshtigo City Hall Oct. 8th

10-04-2018Front Page
Bell to Toll in Memory of the Peshtigo Fire

10-04-2018Front Page
Peshtigo Okays UDAG Loan For Evergreen Tool Expansion

10-04-2018Front Page
Greenland Searcher To Speak in Wausaukee October 5 and 6

10-04-2018Community - Wausaukee
Over 100 Students Given Supplies

10-04-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Church Youth Meet Thursdays

10-04-2018Community - Wausaukee
SNBT New Wausaukee Office Location Oct. 15

10-04-2018Community - Wausaukee
American Legion 66 Hosts Annual Chili Fest

10-04-2018Community - Crivitz
Booyah Fest for Vets Oct. 6 at Gateway

10-04-2018Community - Crivitz
Winners in CBA Craft Fest Sept. 29

10-04-2018Community - Crivitz
Free Trip to Champion Shrine

10-04-2018Community - Crivitz
National Rosary Campaign at Crivitz

10-04-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Board To Consider Renovation Options Oct. 8

10-04-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Utilities To Meet Oct. 8

10-04-2018Sports
Eagles Slam Door on Bulldogs For First Loss

10-04-2018Sports
October is NFHS Activity Recognition Month

10-04-2018Sports
Crivitz/Wausaukee Share M&O Top Spot

10-04-2018Sports
Area Bowling Results

10-04-2018Sports
Area C.C. Runners Have Busy Week

10-04-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

10-04-2018Perspectives
From My Window

10-04-2018Perspectives
From Our Readers

10-04-2018Obituaries
Moses H. C.  Adams

10-04-2018Obituaries
Peter Nyland Adams

10-04-2018Obituaries
George W. Arkens

10-04-2018Obituaries
Susan A. Benzinger

10-04-2018Obituaries
Kristine L. Brown

10-04-2018Obituaries
Tate Earney

10-04-2018Obituaries
Ronald Englund

10-04-2018Obituaries
Richard A. Ermis, Sr.

10-04-2018Obituaries
Terry Flannery

10-04-2018Obituaries
Diane L. Foster

10-04-2018Obituaries
Joyce M. Gyllenberg

10-04-2018Obituaries
Clarence J. Johnson

10-04-2018Obituaries
John J. Johnson, Jr.

10-04-2018Obituaries
Jean F. Krueger

10-04-2018Obituaries
Stephen M. McBride

10-04-2018Obituaries
Delores Menacher

10-04-2018Obituaries
Robert Minzloff, Jr.

10-04-2018Obituaries
Sue M. Mollus

10-04-2018Obituaries
Gary D. Nejedlo

10-04-2018Obituaries
Patricia A. Reinhardt

10-04-2018Obituaries
Janet M. Shepherd

10-04-2018Obituaries
William G. Swanson

10-04-2018Obituaries
Darlene A. Uhl

10-04-2018Obituaries
Carrie A. Wendt

10-04-2018Obituaries
Robert Wiedemeier

09-27-2018Obituaries
Cindy L. Bushey

09-27-2018Obituaries
Janice Dolenshek

09-27-2018Obituaries
Linda L. Dreyer

09-27-2018Obituaries
James M. Ferguson

09-27-2018Obituaries
Carol Gerondale

09-27-2018Obituaries
Richard Getchell

09-27-2018Obituaries
Donald L. Gilbertson

09-27-2018Obituaries
David J. Hallada

09-27-2018Obituaries
Peter A. Hilton

09-27-2018Obituaries
Donna Javor    

09-27-2018Obituaries
Joan A. Kelly

09-27-2018Obituaries
Pamela J. Kitowski

09-27-2018Obituaries
Richard A. Maurer

09-27-2018Obituaries
Ardis J. McKee

09-27-2018Obituaries
Mavis J. McMahon

09-27-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Minzlaff

09-27-2018Obituaries
Robert Olson

09-27-2018Obituaries
Shirley M. Pedersen

09-27-2018Obituaries
Susan L. Philipps

09-27-2018Obituaries
Elizabeth J. Stadler

09-27-2018Obituaries
Terrill N. Thibert

09-27-2018Obituaries
Gloria R. Zahn

09-27-2018Sports
Peshtigo Splits Packerland Contests With Blazers/Clippers

09-27-2018Sports
Bulldogs/Marines Compete at Lourdes Invite

09-27-2018Sports
Wausaukee Continues it's Winnning Ways

09-27-2018Sports
Peshtigo Stays Undefeated/Gruszynski Leads Rangers Past Titans

09-27-2018Perspectives
Country Cousin

09-27-2018Perspectives
From My Window

09-27-2018Perspectives
From our readers

09-27-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wagner Board Getting Prices For New Cottage Lane Bridge

09-27-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Okays 1% Sewer Rate Increase

09-27-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Homecoming Includes Sept. 28 Tailgate

09-27-2018Community - Wausaukee
Wausaukee Again Opens Operation Christmas Child

09-27-2018Community - Crivitz
Seven Members at Crivitz Auxiliary

09-27-2018Community - Crivitz
Wade: 17 Middle Inlet Road Projects In 2018

09-27-2018Community - Crivitz
Clip Clop Trail Riders Open House Oct. 12-14

09-27-2018Community - Crivitz
Wall That Heals Committee To Hold Thank You Reception

09-27-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Board To Meet Mon. Oct. 1

09-27-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman Welcomes New Staff Members

09-27-2018Community - Coleman
PPK Contest at Coleman Oct. 3

09-27-2018Community - Coleman
Bond Center Has Personal Training

09-27-2018Front Page
Cubby Couvilion Honored For Contributions To History

09-27-2018Front Page
County Board Airs Fate Of Former Jail, Hospital

09-27-2018Front Page
Big Peshtigo Historical Day Set for Sept. 29th

09-27-2018Front Page
Tourism Alliance Seeks Definition Of Purpose

09-27-2018Front Page
Coleman School Board To View Remodel Plans Oct. 8

09-20-2018Front Page
County Board Okays TYCO Water Filter, View New Budget

09-20-2018Front Page
Counties Okay Mar-Oco Budget, Clean Sweep Plans

09-20-2018Front Page
Committee Recommends Hiring New Full-Time Police Officer

09-20-2018Front Page
Sex Offender Release Rules Explained At Pound Meeting

09-20-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Town Road Work Exceeds Budget This Year

09-20-2018Community - Coleman
Recent Activity for Joint Municipal Court

09-20-2018Community - Coleman
Pound Womans Club Gives Scholarships

09-20-2018Community - Coleman
Coleman 1952-58 Classes Reunion

09-20-2018Community - Crivitz
High Schoolers Assist at Wall that Heals


space
Peshtigo Times
WEB Poll!
Do you think the Brewers will make it all the way to the World Series?
space Yes
No
Undecided
space
TO VOTE CLICK
YES, NO or UNDECIDED

Suggest a Question
space .
space
FRONT
space
.
space
CLASSIFIEDS
space
.
space
COMMUNITY
space
.
space
GUEST BOOK
space
.
space
NEWS
space
.
space
OBITS
space
.
space
PERSPECTIVES
space
.
space
SPORTS
space
.
space
SUBSCRIBE
space
.
space
.
space
PESHTIGO FIRE
space
.
space
CUSTOM PRINTING
space
.
space
TIMES' SAVER
space
.
space
Click for Peshtigo, Wisconsin Forecast
FORECAST
space
Quick...
News or Ad Search
Enter News key words.
Enter Ad key words.



Peshtigo Times
841 Maple St
PO Box 187
Peshtigo, WI 54157
Phone: 715-582-4541
Email:
News@
PeshtigoTimes.com

space
Fax: 715-582-4662
© 2000-2018
All right reserved
space
Powered by
WEB Media
Interactive
COMMUNITY
WEB sites