The Snowy Winter of 1918, New York, by Childe Hassam

Winter Caregiver Prayer

Dear Winter Caregiver, my Northern Hemisphere sleet-and-snow companion, you sliding on tiny, bouncing, translucent balls of ice in the Stop ‘N Shop parking lot, on your way to collect loaves and fishes for my dinner and yours, may you steer your way through the grocery aisles with my blessing.

In times past, I ran this errand for myself and my loved ones — able to run freely, then, though not during ice storms, remembering their preferences for golden raisins or pumpernickel bread, wheeling my cart past the lettuces (now a swallowing hazard), stopping in the frozen treats department to scan for sugar-free ice cream.

Once I gave. Now I receive. All I have left to give you is gratitude, that and clear direction, a shopping list printed with my wavering pen in hand, and forgiveness for any lapses in concentration.

Pace yourself, dear Winter Caregiver. Whatever the results of tomorrow’s biopsy, I’m stuck with the durable truths of life: that sleet falls in every New England winter; that daybreak rises from the bed of night; that night will fold me in her arms, one night, forever; that we all sleep, sometime, folding our bodies into the good earth with one last act of generosity.

— Mary Ann Barton

Editor’s note: I wrote this prayer from the point of view of someone who receives care, so it’s not about me. I’m still able to run freely, for which I’m grateful. But I can imagine a time when the roles will be reversed. The piece was first published in the newsletter of First Parish in Concord, MA (Unitarian Universalist) . — MAB

Image credit:  The Snowy Winter of 1918, New York, by Childe Hassam, American, 1918, via Wikimedia Commons.

4 thoughts on “Winter Caregiver Prayer

  1. Mary Ann, This is incredible. I posted it on CCHC facebook AND my church’s.

    Hope you are faring well in the snow. Thank you for the inspiration.



  2. Beautiful! I find this especially pertinent as I have friends and family that are caregivers to ailing elders, and I am mentally and emotionally preparing for when it is my turn to be one. Also, I was at home with my girls for 9 years, which I found to be both a wonderful caregiving role, yet very challenging and isolating at times. Thank you so much for the invitation to your Blog, Mary Ann! It was great meeting and talking with you, too! I look forward to more posts! Stay warm :).




    1. Thanks, Melissa. As I watch more snow falling today, I’m remembering what a cozy refuge we all found at Senexet House for the women’s retreat in January. It’s great to connect again through blogging.


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