When people find out I take care of my mom, a certain percentage of people tell me how lucky I am that I still have my mom. How I should cherish every moment. Sure, it’s hard now, but they’d give anything for just one more day.

These people are assholes.

Okay, I know they’re probably great people in the big picture. I’m sure they mean well. They’re speaking from their own grief or spouting nonsense they think seems right for the occasion. This is not the right thing to say.

I have some advice for the world: if you’re thinking of telling someone what they should be grateful for, don’t. Unless the message you want to send is that you are a person without empathy.

I’m stressed out over how I will pay my own bills and my mother’s expenses, which I could barely afford even if I weren’t required to take all of this time off of work to ferry her to appointments and cover when the home health aide doesn’t show up. Don’t tell me to be grateful that I’m going into debt because of my mother’s illness. Don’t tell me to be grateful that my own career and financial future are turning into a huge mess because of her illness.

I’m stressed out over how her illness has stripped her of dignity. Some people are capable of gracefully accepting care. My mother is not one of these people. She is mentally ill and fights every little thing I do to care for her. I have to provide her hands-on care many people, her included, find degrading. She has lost her independence and her ability to make decisions for herself. I am not grateful to have the opportunity to see my mother like this.

The mother I loved is already gone. I am not grateful to endure abusive tirades and hysterics on a daily basis for some unknown number of years. I am not grateful that this is what my life has become. No one deserves to be treated the way she treats me, but I have no other option besides enduring it. I am not grateful to have my mother here like this.

I’m sorry your loved one is dead and you miss them.

Your grief does not make my life easier. Don’t dump it on me. I have enough to carry.

Although, if you would give anything for one more day of having curses hurled at you, finding poo smooshed in the couch, or figuring out insurance coding errors, you’re more than welcome to come to my house and lend a hand.

T.L.A.

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