A Memorial Day Monday Reflection. . .

Capt. Dale Dye, USMC (Ret) veteran, actor and consultant to the American film industry, has this to say about the establishment of Memorial Day:  

In 1868, General John Logan decided his nation had forgotten the fallen on both sides of the bloody Civil War. As national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, a group of Civil War veterans, he issued a proclamation that eventually led to declaration of a day of remembrance for all our war dead.”

On this Memorial Day, it is worth a moment of our time to remember that we are free to enjoy our holiday, step away from our daily work, and be in a mode of celebration with our friends and family because brave Americans have, for centuries, been willing to engage in military service and, when called upon, to go to war. Our freedom is because of their sacrifice.

I’m not from a military family. I have a cousin who served in the Army (as a psychologist, no less) and an aunt who served in the Navy, but I am not close with either of them and know none of their stories or their sacrifices in military service. If your family members are among those who have served, I trust you will find some way to honor both the living and the dead for their decision to serve and the risks they endured for all of us.

Ground level image focusing on the engraved on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington DC, with the Washington Monument out of focus in the background.

I did have the opportunity to enlist when I was in college and, of all the decisions I’ve made that could impact my career and my future, my decision NOT to serve my country at that time is the one I regret.

We were in the midst of the Vietnam War (it was 1972) and I did not see myself as a very brave person.  I was about 19 years old and the U.S. armed services would have welcomed me, paid for the remainder of my undergraduate nursing degree, and put me to work as an officer for the first four years of my nursing career.  It would have been a wise decision, but my adolescent brain was not convinced.

Today, I have the privilege of working with an amazing organization, here in the state of Minnesota. My business has, for the last three years, provided consultation and education for the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA), an agency of about 1500 employees, to support and sustain their Workplace Wellness Program.  It is for me an honor to be a part of their efforts by engaging with their people, both clinical staff and administrative staff, to encourage self-care practices and healthy choices in the midst of challenging and important human-service work.

MDVA is an agency that has far-reaching responsibilities but my work is predominantly with their healthcare staff who work in the eight Minnesota Veterans Homes serving nearly 600 Minnesota veterans and spouses of veterans. They provide “quality healthcare in an environment of trust, dignity and sharing. Homes provide Residents with skilled nursing care, domiciliary care and specialty care for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, dementia, mental health disorders, Parkinson’s disease and more.” (MDVA Annual Report, 2023).

Co-Create 4 Life works with over 20 Workplace Wellness Champions (WWCs) employees who volunteer as wellness ambassadors across the state.  We want to make sure that they are aware of the resources offered to all state employees through the Statewide Wellbeing Program (supported by the State of MN) and we want to personalize the conversation about wellness so that MDVA employees can prioritize their own wellness while caring for others.

Through leadership development, regular meetings with the WWCs, the creation of newsletter content, electronic banners, the provision of health coaching, and an occasional site-visit, CC4L is privileged to serve the needs of healthcare professionals who look after Minnesota veterans throughout the state.  They are an amazing organization of caring people.

Memorial Day is a time of remembrance, but it is also an opportunity to look forward. It is a chance to acknowledge the bravery, the dedication and the selflessness that is required of anyone in military service.  It is a time to be grateful, to be mindful of our liberty, and to be thoughtful about all that is required to protect the freedoms we so frequently take for granted.

Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.