I haven’t been a caregiver too often in my life. My sister, brother and I shared the caregiving role while my mother was in the hospital before she died in 1994. I certainly didn’t take anyone’s advice about self-care back then, except maybe from my dear friend Elisa, who tried to encourage me to keep my heart open—or at least return her phone calls.
If anything, I went to extremes in caring for my family and not worrying about myself. In that mode, I decided to move to Houston, just a month before Mom died.
I wouldn’t make the same choices now—but who knows. I’m a very different person, with a completely different set of circumstances and concerns. I don’t think we really know what we’re capable of facing, or how we will respond in extreme situations, until we do.
I’ve been thinking about caregiving because Nicholas has helped me so much this year on my bad days. That’s probably why this article caught my eye. Our experience hasn’t been anywhere near as intense as the author of the article, but I appreciate her hard-won lessons.