Can I say, In the Trenches?
A good friend is ‘In the Trenches’ as we say. She’s caring for her aging mom whose health is declining, and for complicated family reasons does not have the full support of the siblings. She gave up her career, her social life, she adopted a child in the midst of this and is almost always in, over her head. I say in the trenches because she truly cannot see a horizon. Her view of her mom and son eclipse everything else for the time being.
She is committed, unwavering in that commitment and will not let this care opportunity pass by. She often feels very alone. She needs to defend all spending decisions to siblings who have power of attorney and therefor, control the money. Doctors cannot believe how well her mom is doing, all things considered. My friend is bright, is making good care decisions and has consulted widely on suitable nutrition supplements, meal plans, homecare staffing, everything!
In order to get reimbursed by the not-present-skeptic-sibs for groceries, pads, meds, homecare, supplements and cleaning supplies she needs to present an orderly accounting that makes sense to skeptic-sib #1 who’s an accountant. A care-aid offered help with tracking spending, then proved to be unreliable. Another friend is jumping in to bring spreadsheet love to the situation. And so it goes.
This is caregiving for many, many people. Every story is unique and every story is kind of the same. Unwavering commitment, finding support, forming teams, sharing the load, usually one primary carer sacrifices more, caring-learning-and-tired, caring-learning-and-tired.
If and when you are in the trenches, let others know. They want to hear and empathize and encourage. If you know a caregiver even a little bit, drop them a note, offer help of any kind. It’s true what they say. Empathy is the glue of our own mental health, and of humanity itself.