Welcome to our holiday newsletter. Brrrh it’s getting cold across the nation. I hope you and your loved ones are keeping warm and your spirits are lifted in gratitude for the time you have together. It is an emotionally and spiritually challenging time for many a caregiver to transform fears, guilt, hurts, the anticipation of loss and much more that goes along with the end stages of caring for a loved one.

Use this time wisely. Take time to take photographs, record or video voices so that you will have fond remembrances. I remember when my Dad was in his last few weeks. My brother was furious to think that I wanted to take photos of my father looking as he did from the ravages of his disease. The truth was my Dad was at peace. To have these photos; seeing the love and peace on his face and in his aura are wonderful remembrances of the mini miracles that took place before he transitioned.

I guess it isn’t commonplace to take photos during these times, but for many they are dear, bittersweet, melancholy treasures. It is all in our perception of it. For my Dad to be surrounded by his family, to feel the love, instills wonderful memories rather than the deteriorating images that nearly destroyed me. For me, my only regret, is that I have no recording of his voice, telling me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me.

It is so important to appreciate every moment and to be fully present in each moment. Being in the moment is not only important at the holidays but all the time. Let this holiday season be an opportunity to transform the experiences you will all have and share with others.

For those of you still carrying anger, hurt, guilt, and resentment, let it go. Time is short and so precious. Move into forgiveness and let your hearts open to give and receive love fully. Later on down the road, you will be able to look back and see the growth, the healing and the strengths that catapulted you through the times. I cannot express the importance of being the initiator.. help others in your family and friends to let go; to open to finding love and joy in their hearts. It is a gift to be the light that serves others. The holiday season in all religions is a time of light; Christmas tree lights, Chanukah candles and much more. Be the light, that shining bright star that lights up the dark for yourself as well as your loved ones.

Take time to review family photos, share stories, and really listen to one another. Relish all that you have…. don’t let it go because you are feeling sad or depressed. Do small special things. Light a special candle, create a special bouquet or arrangement of flowers or bake something special. Muster up your energies to bring the joy that is needed into your home and life. And most importantly, take time to nurture yourself. Let go of the “I need to,” ” I should,” and “If I could” and lessen the pressures and stress you may be putting on yourself. The material plane is not of great importance at times like these. This is a time of reconnecting and rekindling your spirit.

I am not saying don’t feel the sadness or the blues. These are part of the emotions you experience as a caregiver, not to mention as a human being in the everyday world. However, every morning God gives you 24 golden hours. They are one of the few things in this world that you get free of charge. If you were the richest person in the world you couldn’t buy an extra hour. Every morning when you waken, you have a choice as to how to view your day upon rising. You can greet it with “Oh God, not another day!” or “Oh God, thank you for giving me this day to live fully as I choose to.” The choice is yours.

It is with all this in mind that I wish you all a wonderful holiday season, filled with love, light, laughter, peace, gratitude and all you imagine it to be.

Gail R. Mitchell


  • Ms. Mitchell began her full-time caregiving experience in the early eighties when her husband was diagnosed with cancer. Later on she became the primary caregiver for her father, along with her mother who had become critically ill from burnout prior to her dad’s passing. In recent years, she cared for several friends with AIDS while continuing to care for her mother and actively providing support, information, referrals and resources for caregivers.

    Gail's leadership on the Internet and her success with Empowering Caregivers led her to found National Organization For Empowering Caregivers (NOFEC) INC in 2001.

    Prior to founding NOFEC, she created the iVillageHealth Chat: Empowering Caregivers, which she hosted for over 5 years. Within a month of hosting she created Empowering Caregivers: www.care-givers.com in 1999 as a resource for caregivers around the globe. Over three million visitors have frequented the website.

    She has presented at national and international care-related conferences and programs and has been a keynote speaker for many programs as well.

    Ms Mitchell has assisted thousands of caregivers online and offline in ways to empower themselves in their roles in caring for loved ones.

    For a list of clients and/or her resume, please contact info@care-givers.com

    Gail's articles have been published in many venues nationally and in Canada. Presently, she is a member of American Society on Aging and National Quality Caregivers Coalition.

    Gail has discovered that there is life after caregiving: She has become a successful ceramic artist and installation artist. She created Crystal Illumination Art to bring the transformative quality of illumination, light and color to the human experience and celebrate its ability to inspire, heal and nourish our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well being.