If you are a caregiver providing support and care for a parent or loved one, then this blog post will confirm what you are already feeling. I want you to know that you are not alone. If you are a sibling or a relative who is across the country and only checking in from time to time on your parent or loved one, let me give you an inside look at differences in your experiences to those of the direct caregiver.
As you know, I am the primary caregiver for my dad, who has Parkinsons’ and Dementia. Every day that I visit him, and it is EVERY day, I am mourning him. From the time I moved him near me after he fell last summer and fractured his pelvis and, I believe, hit his head, he effectively passed away for me. The father whom I spend time with each day, is not the father I knew. Although from time to time he pops back in to show himself, for the most part, we don’t have many meaningful exchanges. His language is completely compromised and I spent most of my time being his advocate and making sure he is getting proper and appropriate care. And I make sure to show him daily that I love him and will protect him.
That said, I mourn for my dad every single day. It is an ongoing, dragged out sense of loss. Very different than one feels typically upon the passing of a loved one where the grief is overwhelming and complete. For me, it is a daily experience. When the time comes that he does pass away, for me, it will be a celebration. It will be a sense of relief. I know that no one, unless you have experienced what it is like to care for someone – on the front lines – you may not understand this. But it is real. Very real.