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All in it together

To be clear, I was far from alone in this “caregiving journey.” My mom was 1 of 9 with 27 grandkids between them. Between our extended family and friends we were well taken care of. There were meals delivered, a friend to keep her active, volunteers to get her out of the house and, most importantly, lots of visitors - her favorite being the little ones. In addition to that, we had my dad & my 3 brothers. My dad did all the things I was afraid to do: ostomy changes (i never could bring myself to look at the gaping hole in her abdomen), injections, TPN (IV nutrition) mixing and waking up frequently throughout the night to help her get to the bedside commode or whatever she may have needed. He forfeited countless hours of sleep sometimes waking up in the middle of the night to a suddenly gushing ostomy appliance that led to an entire bed changing and a reapplication. (The whole process could take about 2 hours.) On top of that, he worked full time. We were fortunate to have a handful of nurses in the family, including Tbone, willing take some of that weight off of my dad’s shoulders whenever he would let them. My brothers would help with what they could but I was really the only one in a position to be home with her full time. (Not married, no kids, not in school, no mortgage, etc.) Plus, my mom jokingly said the difference between myself and “the boys” was (true story) the boys could be standing next to the floral department in a grocery store as she mentioned needing to pick up flowers for something and they would surely pick some up if she asked - but she mentioned the same need to me and I responded by telling her I was driving by a store and would get them for her. Don’t get me wrong, they were all very helpful and thoughtful and we 100% couldn’t have done it without them but there was something in me (Maybe ‘only girl’ syndrome?) that i guess I was just a little more in tune with her specific needs. That, and of course she would never have allowed any of them to help her change or shower or any of that fun stuff. My mom needed a village and we were incredibly blessed to have that support system. I can’t imagine where we would be today without them. 🖤

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