Our Journey is Almost Complete

by Anonymous

I have been taking care of my Mother for the last 5 years, I have commented on the page several times throughout the last 3 1/2 years. It has been a great comfort to share my thoughts with you as I read your own stories and pray for all of us to have the strength to bear our burdens. As I sat here tonight not knowing if Mother will make it through another night, I revisited several of my comments and clearly remember the desperation I was feeling when each one was written. I know each of you know all to well the desperation I speak of.

I'm filled with conflicting thoughts as I approach the end of my caregiving. It seems like caregiving is filled with conflicting thoughts from beginning to end with a whole lot of guilt and resentment mixed in. One moment I'm relieved at the thought of being free and then I realize I will no longer have my Mother and panic sets in.

For 45 years through good and bad,on both our parts, she has been my biggest cheerleader and she truly knows me better than I know myself and has always been my best friend.. She always had unlimited amounts of patience and understanding for me and I'm ashamed that I didn't always have the same for her.

I sit here and wonder if I will feel guilty recalling the moments I could have been more patient, less harsh and far less selfish or if I will be satisfied knowing I truly did the best I could under difficult circumstances. I'm not sure I will know that answer until the moment comes. I do know one thing for sure, the moment we have all wanted and waited for during our ordeals as caregivers... that moment of relief will never truly come.... not in the way we have hoped and prayed for.

In our moments of exhaustion, bitterness and hopelessness, we all allow ourselves to think the moment they pass we will finally have our life back, that we will quickly be able to close that chapter and
move on with our lives, I no longer believe that is possible because as I now stare that moment so close in my future the cold hard realization has set in... while the sick woman in front of me will be gone and I will be released from those duties and all the anguish that comes with being a caregiver... a new anguish will set in because the dear sweet woman whom I have always loved and adored will go with her and I will be lost.

I think sometimes we separate the person in our minds to the sick person who is draining our soul and our parent who we have so many wonderful memories with. Instead of that moment of relief, we will have to deal with the loss and the grief that comes as well and little by little we will find our new normal, and attempt to find ourselves again and that could take longer than any of us care to admit.
I know there are those of you who are wishing you could be in my place tonight.

I know because I once wished the same thing. I would read the comments of those who had finally made it out of this turmoil and think how lucky they were and how it seemed like that moment would never come for me and that God had forgotten about me.

As it turns out, this place is not what I thought it would be like. I'm stilled filled with conflicting emotions, wracked with guilt and wondering how I could possibly feel this way.

I pray for each of you to find comfort as you go through your daily tasks, as you grieve for the life you used to live, as your heart and mind have a daily struggle between compassion, bitterness and guilt.

I pray that each of us find our way back to our own lives and learn to let go of the guilt that seems to constantly weigh on our minds. We are good people, we love our parents and we are not selfish. Best wishes to each of you.

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Well said
by: Anonymous

God Bless you for taking time out to reflect for those who may still be mottling through their journey. Your comments were so well put and everything we all have felt.
God Bless

I understand
by: Anonymous

I wish I knew your name...but I don't, so;
Dear Anonymous,
I read your post with complete understanding and agreement. I am a caregiver and I, too, look forward to the day my duty ends. Or do I? It is a difficult situation. You hate that you have lost a big part of your life, your freedom and have taken on this burden. But when the day comes, are you truly happy? Maybe relieved. I don't know.

I'll cross that bridge when I get to it.

All I know is; right now I hate being where I am and I constantly wish it would end and yes, I'm a little envious of those whose burden has been lifted. But yet, every time the phone rings, my heart sinks with the thought I'm getting a call from the nursing home that my mother has died.

You are probably thinking I'm not really a caregiver if my mother is in a home, but she lived with me for 12 years, I took her to her doctor appointments and did her shopping. I go visit her everyday and I bring her home on Sundays for dinner.

I wash her clothes, pay her bills and I even wash her up every night and put on her night gown. I clean her teeth and shop for anything she might need. I pull her bed covers down at night and make sure she's all set before I leave.

So, yes, I consider myself a caregiver. I keep telling myself I'll be glad when this is over. Someday, it will end. And I'm sure there will be regret. Even though I've been as good a daughter as any can be; I'll still think of the times I may have had harsh words for her or hurt her feelings.

Make no mistake, she has had plenty of harsh words for me too, and has hurt my feelings countless times. I may forgive but I can never forget. There is no doubt the end will be bittersweet. May God see you through this difficult and confusing time. Let good memories be your salvation.

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