Thankful Grateful

Thankful Grateful

On a gray, rainy Monday afternoon, as I sat with my mom in a consultation appointment with her new surgeon, the definitions of two words came to life for me in a new way, offering a glimmer of hope during a cloudy season.  When I heard my mom, who has been my...
Death by Dementia

Death by Dementia

Some deaths Are like the slamming of a door. Sudden. Complete. You are either On one side of the door, Or the other, With no contact between. But dementia isn’t like that. It is simultaneously more gentle, And more cruel. Not one, complete, total, goodbye. Instead...
What I Wish the CNAs Knew About My Mom

What I Wish the CNAs Knew About My Mom

When my mom moving into a nursing home last year, I was terrified. I was leaving her in the hands of people I didn’t know, who she didn’t know, and who didn’t know her. Scary stuff. Sure, the team wanted to know what she likes and what kind of care she needed, but...
Ambiguous Loss and Paradox

Ambiguous Loss and Paradox

Guilt. Stress. Exhaustion. Anger. Sadness. We read these cries for help – these pleas for release – in blogs for caregivers whose spouses have incurable illnesses. We hear these cries loud and clear in our face-to-face support groups as we commiserate,...
Empty space

Empty space

Moving out of a home and seeing that empty space where you used to always has a sad, beautiful quality to it. This is the house in LA where my dad grew up. In the backyard is where my parents got married. After living away for decades, my dad moved back into that...
When their sickness is an excuse

When their sickness is an excuse

When I talk to someone whose life revolves around an addict, their lives feel familiar to me. We are beholden to someone else’s moods. We tiptoe around, catering to someone else’s whims, so as to not upset them and deal with the repercussions. We beg and...
The Guilt Will Bury You Alive, If You Let It

The Guilt Will Bury You Alive, If You Let It

Guilt. Everyone feels it. Everyone talks about it. Everyone tries their best to avoid it by doing the right thing. But, no one ever tells you that there really is no way around it. Sometimes, no matter how many good things you do, you still find something to feel...
The blessing of giving in

The blessing of giving in

I started being a care giver for my wife about five or six years ago. As she slipped into dementia I took over more and more of her duties and took greater care of her. This was a second marriage for me, I had a similar experience with my first wife who died of...
With love, Grandma

With love, Grandma

I didn’t really realize it was issue. I mean there were signs here and there, but nobody can have it together all the time, especially when you are getting up there in age. I was so used to her calling me Chelsea that when it became a regular thing, I didn’t think...
Rights of passage

Rights of passage

“We’re keeping an eye on it.” I knew my mom had an ongoing gynecological issue that was being ‘monitored’ by her primary care physician, and I was content to hear her standard answer whenever I’d ask what her doctor said about her condition after her yearly check-ups....
Help! I’m trapped and terribly resentful

Help! I’m trapped and terribly resentful

I am the sole caregiver for my disabled husband of 49 years. He is diabetic, on dialysis three days a week, a double amputee, and has no feeling in arms and hands. Fingers are part amputated and part gnarled. His hands are almost useless. Before he became truly...
Wheelchair Blues

Wheelchair Blues

You’d think I’d have gotten used to it after four years, ten neurosurgical operations, drug-resistant infections and falls in the middle of the night, but it’s lifting up my husband’s wheelchair to put it into the car that I hate the most. The wheelchair’s handlebars...