My purpose in these posts is not to kvetch about being a caregiver.
Telling my story (by writing it down as best I can) is my way of remembering before I forget the beginning, middle and in-between of Alzheimer’s and it’s affects on one family.
Sure, I complain, I’m the first admit that.
I rail against the day in/day out difficulties and vent my frustrations but that doesn’t mean I ‘want out’ or that I’m not committed to caring for my loved one, Miss Cathy, the best way I know how.
And let’s face it, I’ve fumbled a few times but I’ve never dropped the ball (which in this case would be my mother when I had to carry her once) so I admit I’m a work in progress.
But, like Maya Angleou says, “When you know better, you do better.”
I might learn to do better, but I doubt I’ll stop bitching along the way.
I remember the day years ago soon after my mother was diagnosed and I decided (without being asked) to become her caregiver (something I hadn’t done since the early days of the AIDS epidemic when it ravaged my gay community and I found myself caring for someone I loved for the first (but not the last) time).
So I knew the commitment I was taking on (even though it was a different disease, a different relationship and a different time) but nonetheless my decision was as easy to make then as it was before.
We all know how easy it is to say that we love, and it’s not often in life that we are given the opportunity to show how we love and show up for a loved one, and in those moments we get to see ourselves for who we really are.
Love means being there for someone else when they need you, not when you want to be there for them or when it’s convenient for you or your life.
Love, to me, between a person and their parent, spouse, sibling or friend is defined by the depth of their willingness to give, to receive and sometimes (maybe, more importantly) their capacity to forgive.
So, if I’ve sounded as if I’m complaining (and lets face it, sometimes I am, actually) that’s okay as long as I show up each day for the commitment that I’ve made (not to Miss Cathy or anyone else so much as) to myself.
I’m just letting off steam, being vulnerable, and posting questions as I stumble through what is one of the hardest things l have ever done or will possibly ever do, finding answers and support from (sometimes) the unlikeliest of people and places.
When I made my decision to leave my life to join Miss Cathy’s it was so that she could live out as much of her life in the home that she loves before the disease progressed to the point where there was no more there, there.
It’s been three years and three months since I moved in with her and so far, so there.
I’m happy to report that she’s not there yet so life goes on for now, just me and Miss Cathy.
To me it’s very simple, “when you care-you come”, the rest is just words.
So, when it comes to love and my loved ones, in the words sung by the late, great “Little Sparrow” Edith Piaf f-9439893″>http://www.biography.com/people/edith-piaf-9439893, “I regret nothing”.