My father had a bad heart and I cared for him with my mom until his death in 1991. It was a beautiful thing to be able to be with my dad when he died but I was a single mom with three kids and it took its toll. I felt like I would go crazy some days. Mad at the illness mad that he smoked and mad at the world that a beautiful caring man was losing his fight for life.
He passed away and within four months my mom got really sick. It was crazy because my brother’s and sister wanted her in a nursing home or else I guess I shouldn’t complain about taking care of her. But I made her a promise like many of us do that we will care for those we love until they leave this earth and their illness behind. And my promise was no nursing home. I did that and after she died I felt a complete and total loss. I realized that aside from my children I had cut off most of my life and my friends but a small few. I encourage caregivers to take the offers of someone coming and helping out. Ask for help to. Please don’t be afraid of living when those around you are so sick. After that I had a couple of great years and then my son was diagnosed with a very serious brain malformation. This started and odyssey that is still going on.
It has been tough no two ways about it. And it has taken a toll on the other two children that I have. But the reason I am writing this is because on the one hand it is a terrible hand when someone is dealt a blow of a terrible illness like my son like Dan did. But then it is a privilege to be part of their lives. We know that in giving there is receiving but to give all of yourself is not the best for you or for the person that is so ill. Try to take care of yourself and the others so affected by the person that is ill.
I was deeply saddened to learn of Dan’s passing from this world. Yet I also know what Jean and others close to Dan were going through taking care of him and loving him and wanting him to get well even in the face of such incredible odds. So I want to thank the tireless and the devoted that do this for their loved ones, for their patients, for their friends, because without the caregivers of this world it would be a sadder place. I know when my mom left this earth as did Dan and all of those that have the love of their families beside them that the journey to the next place is a peaceful one and each and every caregiver should be proud of that. My thoughts are with all of those that take care of the ill today and for those that have lost the ones they love. I knew at the hospital that many of the nurses and doctors felt so much sorrow when a little child passed away.
So please if you are a caregiver love all you can but take care of yourself.