There Will Be No Parade

For all you Unsung Heroes out there, just know, that when it’s over, there will be no parade. In this moment you are in a barrage of fire, juggling many plates, wearing many hats, crossing off those lists and then, in the next moment, you will find yourself back in your life, stunned, dazed, wondering what was that all about.

Everyone will be indifferent. To them it was inevitable, expected, of course, they’re old, they’re dying!

They don’t realize you’ve spent years keeping them alive. It’s been about survival, not just for them, but for you too. You’re like a soldier coming back from war. One moment it’s life or death and the next you’re getting off a plane, back with the civilians, who say Oh hey, welcome back! and walk away. And there you are.

You slip back in and try to pick up where you left off, but everything’s a little different now and you’re altered in some way. Yet nobody sees it because nobody knows what you’ve been through. And nobody ever will.

I’m coming to the end of my tour of duty with mom.

Autumn is definitely in the air. So I’m starting to reconcile with it now, during these quiet days where she mostly sleeps. As she heads down that tunnel toward the light, I also am traveling my tunnel, only I will be going back into the land of the living. When I emerge, there will be not a murmur, nor a stir, and there definitely will be no parade.

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by: Carebear

I don’t know who you are - male or female - or where you are, but you should know that your writing here on this topic is awesome. Thank you.

Get out now , breathe again
by: Lee

I feel sorry for you,I am in the same boat : a boat going upstream and carrying people on their way out.

It seems to get scarier each day because of the total responsibility we have been overcome with and no one to help out at home or with all the chores and emotional outbursts thrown at us.

Although it looks normal it is not because the rest of their children ran away from their parents, leaving them alone with me and going on vacation and parties. I feel hurt big-time because years and time have gone fast and I look at this situation and can only hope it gets better, and luckily I believe I was the strong one here that's what I learned.

But it is sad knowing the truth and facing it as well, but I m still here maybe not a millionaire but we'll aware.I can only hope things get better and more civil in the days to come and become cheerier and brighter.

Spot on
by: Anonymous

Very well written! Thank you!

I understand
by: Anonymous

Your post was so beautifully written. It touched me deeply as I'm slowly heading down that tunnel you talked about. It is inevitable.

Being a caretaker is so bittersweet. There are days I want time to stop and leave my mom alone. Then there are days when I feel like I can't do this anymore and I want my own life back so bad I could just scream.

I feel selfish for feeling that on those days, but I also know it's completely natural so I give myself a pass on those darker days when panic sets in thinking how many years of my life will be lost?

Caretakers are the quiet, unknown and unsung heroes. Only another caretaker can understand how a 24 hour day can be 40 hours long despite what the clock on the wall says. Only another caretaker can understand how hating the situation and hating the person becomes blurred together. It's a thin line to walk.

A caretaker I know who emerged into the sunlight on the other side recently told me there is a certain degree of PTSD that comes along with that newfound freedom. You were right when you said you are now altered. She said the day that should be have been filled with a sense of joy and relief was just very confusing.

She said she searched for herself to be that joyful person she had anticipated, but that person didn't exist anymore. For a long time, she grieved the loss of the person she once was.

I think a part of that grief is that as a human being who faced the possibility of death every day of your loved one, the inevitability of life and our own "end" someday stares us in the face for the first time. It's easy to skip through life knowing that day will come, but none of us really think about it.

I know I will be changed when my mom goes. I am changed now. I hope the happiness of just life returns to me as I haven't felt that in a very long time.

As you described very accurately the day will come quietly and there will be no parade to honor the passing of one person and the rebirth of another.

So very sad.

Thank You For This
by: Alexis

What a well-written, thoughtful post. I agree. There are no parades. My mother died just over a year ago, and the years-long journey was filled with anxiety, major stress, and at times, my own death wish.

It was a difficult, miserable job, partly because of my mother's basic personality, with her severe dementia thrown in for flavor.

After she was gone I expected to throw off my chains and rejoin the living. Instead it was a slow process to return. I ended up on an antidepressant, not due to grief but because I was so burned out.

I'm mostly back now and doing much better, but I still dream about those years. I didn't think my mother would deteriorate the way she did. But if I'd known what was coming, maybe the anticipation would have made things worse.

How true
by: Judy

Your message is spot on. I have been in your shoes and I couldn’t have said it better. It transpired for me in exactly the same way.
God bless.

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