“Moss Don’t Grow on a Rollin’ Stone”: The Holiday Edition

Thanksgiving is my favorite family holiday, even more than Christmas, and has been since I was a kid. But now that our children’s four grandparents are either in their 80s or close to it, every holiday we spend with them is that much more special. When my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer at the end of March, we were not sure what the ensuing months would bring, and we still aren’t in many ways. But what I can tell you is that her palliative care doctor, a wonderful human at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center’s Cancer Center, told her that getting out of the house, visiting dear friends with my dad, making memories with her grandchildren, watching their soccer games, having lunch with her ladies, maintaining a good quality of life was AS important if not more so, than the amount of chemotherapy drugs that were entering her body.

Krill Family

And so, she has tackled these months with the balance of dealing with chemo and actual living with the same gusto I remember from childhood. This weekend she is heading to New York City with a friend because “taking the train to NYC” is on her list of travel. Meanwhile my husband Geoff likes to regularly impersonate the old man he will become one day (but not yet because he just turned 53) with cliched phrases and song lyrics like, “Moss don’t grow on a rollin’ stone.” He tells me this is what matters to him as he ages. He won’t get “too old too” fast if he doesn’t stop moving. While I believe there is truth to this, many of us approach the holidays with this same kind of action-packed fervor. We must do all the things. We must bake all the cookies and cakes and roasted nuts. We must make everyone’s holiday wishes come true. We must fill each day with tradition steeped in love, humor, and family dinners.

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But what if sometimes we just want to be the stone that stops rolling even if just for an hour or a day?   What if we take the risk of growing a little moss so we can rest? What is so wrong with moss in the first place? Don’t get me wrong. I understand the need to keep moving. But being everything to everyone all time and everywhere is simply not sustainable. As caregivers, we must find the time to pause. We need to balance our work life responsibilities with our personal well-being, or we won’t be around long enough to care for anyone, let alone the people we care about most. I write this today as much as a reminder for me as anyone else out there in the universe reading my words.

This holiday season-- no matter your religion, race, disability, or caregiving status-- try to find the time to be the stone who takes a rest. Shut down your phone. Turn off the news.   Read the book. Drink the tea (or something stronger). Take the nap. Drive the long way home. Watch the snowflakes fall and be less worried about shoveling them.   Be the stone. Take CARE.   And if you don’t know how to do that on your own or forget how you ever were able to in the first place, ask for help.   I hear moss is extra beautiful around Christmas Time. May your holidays be merry and bright, and may peace find its way back.

About the Author - Heather Krill

Heather Krill is a writer- wife- teacher- mom, living in northern New Hampshire with her husband Geoff, a paraplegic adventure athlete, and two tweenagers, a son and daughter aged 13 and 12. A high school teacher and coach for 26 years, Heather has been a blogging contributor for six years.

Heather Krill

The opinions expressed in these blogs are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $10,000,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement by, ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.