The caregiver’s mantra: doing the best I can

If one more person tells me to be sure to take care of myself, I’m going to bury my face in a pillow and scream.

“Go for a walk, take a vacation,” they advise. I know they’re trying to help, but really? Giving me one more thing to do? Oh well, they’re just doing the best they can.

I moved my folks across the country, from Florida to Washington State, and into an apartment near me so that I could care for them in what seemed to be their final months. My brother, who’d been looking after them, was leaving to get married, and we didn’t think they were safe on their own.

They’d always been fiercely independent, but at almost eighty, with minimal financial or supportive resources, they were struggling with declining health. My father had suddenly lost most of his eyesight and suffered from serious cardiac conditions; my mother was bedridden due to deteriorating joints and alcohol abuse.

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