What's On Your Bucket List? Caregiving?


What's On Your Bucket List? Caregiving?


We do not remember days, we remember moments. ~ Cesare Pavese

One of the great aspects of being on the road to Spokane is the anticipation of where the journey will lead me. Sure, the end of the journey is graduation but what about the road leading up to graduation? And more importantly, what will happen after graduation? So many sites to see along the way, so many people along the route to visit, so many more things to do on my bucket list.

Richard and I were fortunate that we were able to accomplish quite a number of things on our bucket list prior to his cancer diagnosis. Transatlantic cruises were always tops on our list, and we had quite a bit of domestic trips, too. We had lunch in a small mountain side cafe outside of  Arels, France, a hill top view overlooking the green and blue lake, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at Ponta Delgarda Azores,  we relaxed after a walk in Cadiz, Spain.

One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was in the planning! We would sit down together and look at maps and plan the itinerary as best we could. While we had a plan in place, we always left room to explore so that we can check off items on our bucket list. It was fun for us to check items off our bucket list. As I continue to plan my road to Spokane, it has come to my attention that my bucket is a little dusty.

dust-monitoringOh, there are many things I still want to do that were on our bucket list: visit the Grand Canyon, drive to Mount Rushmore, fly to Hawaii, more transatlantic cruises and a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.  Now it is time to dust off the bucket list!

One thing that was not on our bucket list of things to do was caregiving.  I doubt Caregiving is on your bucket list either!

It seems kind of strange to think about caregiving as something that should be on your bucket list because in essence no one really wants to be a caregiver. Caregiving just happens! It could be an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident. Who plans on being a caregiver? While all of our caregiving experiences are different, there is a part of caregiving that I think we all experience, the beginning and the ending, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life-changing events. We live in the moment of our caregiving journey while desperately praying for a miracle, hoping the next day will be better than the day before. Then all of a sudden, it’s over.


As I look back on our caregiving journey, I know now the good days far outweighed the bad ones. We might not think that way when we are in the midst of the caregiving trenches, but I have come to know that this is true. As caregivers, we sometimes get caught in the mindset that we can do this alone, or that we do not need any additional help. Along the way I learned reaching out for help was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Reaching out for help and being mindful of your own personal health and well-being is job #1 for all caregivers. Yet, easier said than done!


So I think adding a little asterisk at the end of your bucket list to include caregiving is a great thing to do.  The asterisk can be a subtle reminder to have all your legal documents in order or to be mindful of the unexpected, but most importantly, the asterisk will remind you not to procrastinate and accomplish as many items on your bucket list as possible with your spouse or partner because before you know it the asterisk arrives at the top of your list and your bucket list will then starts to gather dust.

The Road To Spokane is part of a Masters Thesis project leading up to graduation from Gonzaga University in Leadership and Communication.


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Chris MacLellan

Thanks so much for your kind words and support. Traveling the road alone has been an adjustment for me: and I think you are right on target, we need to discuss this part of Caregiving more than we do. I will keep plugging away, \"working together for good!\" ....Thanks again! Chris


What a wonderful post, Chris. It is good to hear from you and glad you are traveling. I want to also tell you how much your post were helpful to me (back on aftercaregiving.com).\r\n\r\n The future possibility of caregiving for my spouse, or he for me, became so apparent while carving for his mom. At times, we thought she'd outlast us. The one thing we were so grateful for was the pre planning she had done, all the paperwork in pace, certainly made the transition easier when the time came both to start, and when it was time for DNR. You post is a good reminder that we need to complete our paperwork which is only about half done -- then give copies to my kids with list of all they need to know.