There is a certain beauty and yet deep heartbreak which is an integral part of caring for a loved one with a serious illness or disability. Following are some words written by a former caregiver. I think the author of these words captures the care-giving scenario in all it's reality, With her permission I am sharing her memories with you today, dear caregiver:
Gripping the edge of the sink, on trembling legs he stood
Shaking, bent over at the waist, waiting for instructions.
I squat before him and pull down his underwear.
“Ok, step backwards a little at a time”
“No, wait, you’re not back far enough to sit down!”
“Wait till you feel the cold bowl against the back of your legs”
Still holding to the sink, he reaches the other hand
To the wall for support, shuffling backwards with his feet.
Slowly he lowers himself down and lands in place.
First placing his hands on his thighs, he begins to flail around.
“Honey, what are you looking for, what do you need?”
Pleadingly he says, “Something to hold on to.”
Stepping forward, standing between his legs, I say,
“Here, hold onto me.”
I gather his arms and place them around my waist.
I reach around him and put my hands on his back,
Pressing him toward me, securing, supporting him.
“Lean into me.”
His head against my abdomen, arms clinging, he says,
“Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you.”
Tears fill my eyes, my cheek pressing the top of his head, I whisper,
“I know, and I’ve got you. I’m here with you. I love you too."