Give Now

What Life Is All About

By: Sadye Terre

It is midnight on a Tuesday with frost on the roof, and I’m shivering in layers of blankets on pull out couch in the hospital. Yes, this is miserable. Yes, I’m whining. But when I see my mom’s eyes open just a few hours later, nothing else in the world matters.

For as long as I can remember, caregiving has always been a thing in my family. Whether it’s a relative that is sick or just a good friend with a bad heartbreak, my mom and I have always been there. When I needed surgery, my mom was there every second of the way. She drove me anywhere I needed, picked up my medicine from every pharmacy in town and rejected any visitors I did not want to see. She never whined or complained that it was too much work to take care of me.

When my mom found out that she needed surgery, her world turned upside down. I had never seen her so helpless and caught off guard. She has taken care of me my whole life, and now it was my turn to repay the favor. Caregiving has come naturally to me. I used to take care of anyone in my sorority house that was sick and needed an errand run or just a box of chocolates. I have bathed sick friends and raced to and from doctor’s offices. So taking care of my mom, this couldn’t be any different, right?

Taking care of someone you love is not a chore or voluntarism or philanthropy. Taking care of someone you love is what you do because you love them. It doesn’t matter what the person’s ailment is. You take care of them because they are your people. They are the ones you hold onto when times get tough, and you can’t see the light of day.

So, when my mom’s eyes opened that chilly morning, all the whining and sourness dissolved. My attitude became instantly positive and, instinctually, I raced over to the hospital bed to get her anything she needed. Giving someone you love your undivided attention is something that doesn’t happen often enough. It’s times like these cold hospital mornings when you take for granted spending time with your loved ones and realize that really nothing else in the world matters more than being surrounded by those who you love.

Caring for someone. Giving your time and energy to someone. Loving everything about that person, no matter the circumstance, is exactly what living a life of generosity, compassion and philanthropy is all about.

Sadye Terre is a special projects officer for community investments at the Santa Barbara Foundation.

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