Tunzo: A Swahili word that means care, attention, protection, honour, distinction, award. Words that describe how many family caregivers care for their family members who have a debilitating physical or mental health condition or with a drugs or substance addiction. Words that describe the high expectations that family caregivers grapple with from themselves and from others about how they should care for others. Words that describe the unspoken longing of the type of support systems many family caregivers wish they had in their intense bewildering caregiver journey.
Family caregivers: We feed sometimes literally, sometimes we provide for the food. We make sure thirst is quenched and loved ones rehydrated. We take in family members when we least expected to. Sometimes we become strangers to our own family members because they no longer recognize us. Or, our relationships take a sudden or gradual new strange format because of illness. We clothe literally or provide for clothing. We visit with family members who are imprisoned by illness or addiction
Matthew 25:35-40: For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’