My Sacrifice to Care for My Parents
(Pearland, TX, USA)
I was working as a part timer for Kohl's when my divorce occurred and the return home to deal with my mom's terminal liver cancer and assisting Dad with her. It was a Family joint decision for me to quit Kohl's while I received full SSDI to be the primary caregiver to my parents in their home. My Dad and I were burnt out toward the last 3 months of my mom's life in 2008.
I have conveyed to my brother and his wife who live about 2 minutes away that we need help. Dad and I were exhausted emotionally, mentally and physically.
Finally, they called the Home Health Caregiver for part time and then, full time toward the end of mom's life. From my observation, my brother and his wife have no idea the strain it caused to my Dad and myself. They cannot afford to quit their jobs and stayed busy with their lives and their time away from their homes on vacation breaks.
Dad and I were home bound. We could not get a break. What breaks that we do get were only a couple of hours while the Hospice part time caregiver was in our home. They (brother and his wife) would not even offer us a time off from our care of Mom. Upon our reactions, we were upset with them in that they do not step up to the plate to assist us who live 2 minutes away from us.
It was 2 weeks before Mom passed away that my brother and his wife finally came around to be with Mom. I was not happy with them at all. But, I had to be strong for my Mom and Dad. I kept my mouth silent because I gave up trying to explain to them that we need their help. They just put other people to help us and refused to spend time taking care of Mom.
My brother's wife took care of the financial statements while I take care of my parents in the home. I supposed in this respect that my brother's wife felt like that they are doing their part. The physical reality of caring for Mom and the emotionally strain that it caused to my Dad and me was too much to handle. I had to be a counselor to Dad and Mom; took care of house duties (meals, clothes washing, baby fed Mom, grocery shopping and doing errands for them),
and consoled Dad at times.
I can say that I never regretted giving up my job and my social life to care for Mom and Dad's emotional needs afterwards. It was well worth my sacrifice to give up part of my life (social life, work, and doing things) to see to my parents' needs.
Presently, my Dad has stayed alive after Mom passed away. They were married 51 years. Dad has often said that it was my presence, being here at home, that kept him going. Now, I have felt like that I am being taken advantage of. My Dad has been doing things as he pleased but he left a lot of things for me to pick up after him. I felt like that I am a housemaid or a doormat to my Dad even though he was quite capable of looking after himself. He has a walking cane, doing his own thing. When it comes to house chores, his excuse is that he was tired and did not feel like doing chores. But, he was not tired when he was going out shopping for his medicines, being with his buddies for drinks, and going to his church functions.
According to family members, Dad is Dad. That is just the way he is...his personality. Sometimes, I get fed up with this excuse. Other times, I just let it roll off my back and just keep going. Still other times, I just accepted it peacefully and move on in my daily life.
During this past summer of 2010, my daughter called to request my assistance with my granddaughter. I talked to Dad about it. I made arrangements with my brother and his wife to keep their eye out on Dad while I journey to another city to care for my granddaughter. It worked out well. Dad learned to wash his own clothes and took care of himself while I was away.
To me, this is a trial run because one day I may have a good job that will require me to move in another city. If this is the case, I made sure that Dad is quite capable to care for himself. Dad is aware that I may have a good job to get off of SSDI and move to another place someday. Emotionally, Dad is prepared to be by himself. My responsibility as an Adult Child caregiver to my parent has been done properly.
Thanks for the listening ear.
A Sacrificed Lady