Friday, August 28, 2009

Insights from a family caregiver

Elisabeth Graham's piece on caring for her father-in-law is well worth the read. Her mother-in-law has a toxic personality, the family has decided to care for him at home themselves, and her father-in-law's disease doesn't follow the normal trajectory leading to a longer caregiving stint than they imagined.

"Each time I canceled another month's engagements, a sense of hopelessness knocked me down. I pled daily for mercy, intervention—anything to bring this season of life to an end. "God, is this how my life will be forever? What's your purpose in keeping John alive?" Immediately guilt swamped me. How could I be so self-centered?

As an only child, Mike had no siblings to share the burden of John's care. Friends asked why we didn't put John in a home or insist that Agnes hire nursing care. But as much as I hated what my life had become, I knew John must hate his life even more. Mine would eventually get better; his was ending. The least I could do was make the end as pleasant and easy as possible. Keeping him home was one way. Buffering Agnes was another."

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