Learning to say goodbye to more than just 2023

Happy New Year!

Hello KIRC fam! Welcome to all of our new subscribers and a warm wish for a Happy and Safe New Year to everyone!

Wow – hard to believe 2024 is just a few hours away! Where does the time go?

You’ve likely heard it said that time moves faster the older we get, right? I am inclined to believe this is true.

Making space

There’s something else I believe. Let me know if you agree that in order to spur growth, change, and new experiences, we must make space in our lives both figuratively and literally.

So as we wind down 2023 and usher in yet another new year, I’d like to share with our Keeping It REAL Caregiving community some of the ways I am ‘making space’ to be ready for the new year.

I share this in hopes you can find inspiration and/or guidance. It feels like the actions of the past few days have allowed me to honor and appreciate my role as a caregiver, while also providing space to usher in ‘the new.’ Here’s how…

Letting go

Do you ever feel like you are being buried in a pile of ‘stuff?’ Old clothing, household items, magazines, little mementos from years past?

We’ve touched on this in previous posts…

The question of ‘how and when is it time to sort through and discard belongings of a loved one you have lost?’ can be tough. Is there a ‘right’ time or does it simply depend on the person?

As many of you know, I said goodbye to my mother, Nellie, in September, 2020. Yet, here were are three years since, and I have finally – F-I-N-A-L-L-Y made the full commitment to ‘make space’ by sorting, sifting, donating, and/or tossing out the bulk of my mother’s remaining belongings.

Is it hard and emotionally exhausting? Yes! I had no idea how much of a tug I would feel getting rid of the stacks of name address labels – yikes! However, I know this ‘cleansing’ is necessary.

I have given myself permission to fully say goodbye. Realizing the memories of my mother and time spent together now hold greater meaning to me than all the things.

Not to mention, most of those ‘things’ have now become clutter, or unknown possessions stacked in progressively older and dusty boxes collecting cobwebs in my garage. That paints a forlon picture, doesn’t it?

Just think of the emotional energy attached to that? I had to ask myself, ‘Is that how I wish to remember my mother?’ The answer is ‘no.’

The time has come to honor my role as family caregiver, by choosing to keep only a few items which will always bring a positive memory or a smile. It is time to let go of the rest and make space for new memories, items, and moments which will bring me joy and satisfaction. If you are on the fence with this issue, perhaps hearing this will help.


For many of us as family caregivers, it is easy to lose a clear sense of ‘self.’

Years of being…

  • The child-turned parent

  • The home doctor

  • The cook, maid and pharmacist

  • The emotional support system

  • The pretty much ‘everything all the time’

…it can leave us in limbo questioning our identities. Am I right?

Part of the ‘letting go’ process is allowing ourselves to move forward with pursuits and experiences that are unique to who we are.

So here’s my New Year’s wish to all of you. Whether you are in the thick of caregiving or emerging from the other side, I hope you will make space to focus on the qualities that make you tick. Use those as your beacon to allow you to evolve, set goals, and remain positive in whatever the new year holds for you.


In my case, the evolution happens to overlap with caregiving. I have always loved to write and tell stories; hence a 25+ year career as a broadcast journalists.

My evolution as we move into 2024 is to fully embrace what I have set into motion with Keeping It REAL Caregiving. I’m sharing with all of you some exciting goals and changes which impact our community.

  1. Completing the Keeping It REAL Caregiving book. There are several working titles, which I will share in coming weeks and I would love some feedback. You’ll also hear from me regarding opportunities for you to take part!

  2. Transitioning away from the Substack platform. All of the KIRC resources and stories will be housed under one roof, at www.keepingitrealcaregiving.com. This decision has been in the works for a while, but recent events surrounding the Substack platform have solidified my decision that it is time to ‘let go and move on.’

    NOTE: The platform will remain, but no new content will be added I invite you to continue your subscription with KIRC. However, this is your ‘no questions asked or judgement passed’ chance to ‘let go and move on’ if you wish.

  3. Interactive work across caring communities. My goal with KIRC is to create a community of individuals who truly care about helping each other. As we move into 2024, KIRC will soon be launching a ….(TBA) project, with the goal of bringing more like-minded people together to drive positive change.

You may have received this message both from Substack and the Keeping It REAL Caregiving blog. As I devote more of my time and energy to completing the book project, you will receive fewer blog posts, and when you do it will be a compilation of various resources and articles.

See you all in 2024 – direct from the Keeping It REAL Caregiving Blog hub!

Thank you for being part of this journey, and I’m excited for whatever the New Year will bring us!

Until next year,