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A Mother's Love Knows No Bounds
Last night while waiting for others to join me in the chatroom, I picked something to read at this Caregiving Site. It was a woman's story of caring for her mother. I remained wrapped up in this story for almost 2 hours. I had not finished it yet, but evidently had tears streaming down my face according to my husband when he came home. I felt such empathy and sympathy (although I don't think this woman wrote for sympathy). It just overwhelmed me. I related to so many things she said, such as the losing of faith as I wondered why anyone had to suffer like this and why things just kept piling up. I related to the isolation she felt; however, our experiences with our wonderful Home Care Nurses and aides kept me from understanding to the full extent of which she wrote. Also, we were blessed because one of my husband's brothers had moved into our home due to marriage problems, and had a lot of company.

But it still hurt when friends would phone or come over and fill me in on their busy lives, while I basically had nothing new to report. Don't get me wrong..I didn't resent them their happiness. I'm not that kind of person. It just seemed to add to the feeling of isolation on some of the bad days.... and there is always the fact that they too may experience this one day.

I totally agree with the statement "You have to walk in one's shoes to know what it is like." They knew what I was doing but they just could not fathom the emotions I was feeling...and never will...unless they also go there.

I would some days lash out at my husband for the absolute stupidest things--out of fear, out of frustration. Then I would wonder why am I taking this out on him...none of this was his fault. He only tried to help. I always knew he loved me with all his heart, but going through what we did has only strengthened that feeling. He has stood by me through it all, perhaps taking more of a toll from the whole thing than I have.

I wonder most days why I am so strong, handling all of this sometimes too well...to the point I begin to wonder if there is something wrong with me? WHY do I feel such inner peace? WHY do I now feel that I can help others deal with these things, including my husband who is experiencing rough times (which will probably get rougher, as both of his parents have health problems?)

As caregivers we have just such a multitude of feelings to work through.... during and after. And always there seems to be that word - why? - in the back of our heads. I asked that so many times while watching my mother struggle with health problems, especially on days when her breathing was worse, or her ankles would swell, or her hips would begin to ache or her stomach would continue to give her problems. I wondered why we needed all the extra problems. Wasn't it enough to just have difficulties breathing? I wished so many days there was some way I could transfer some of her pain to myself.

When my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer into our second year as caregivers, I asked WHY? When my mother-in-law had a stroke I asked WHY? And when my father had another stroke I asked WHY?

Was I being selfish thinking all this was piling up on us? I guess shamefully it was a little selfishness on my part...I just figured we were going through quite enough and I worried we were not capable of handling any more. But we did...and we will...

I reached the point many times in the past 3 years believing the rest of my
life was doomed to only seeing illness - the point in which the thought of another visit to a hospital would surely make me scream. I too, worried I would have a nervous breakdown....

My husband's rationalizing of the situation was...when my mother first got ill and was on life support that God decided it was not her time yet because her daughter needed to gain strength to deal with this, so He gave her back to me for the extra time for me to care for her, and in doing so, to strengthen myself. He must have known more than I at the time because that seems to be EXACTLY what it has done for me.

This only child, who had led for the most part a rather sheltered life, has surprised many with the strength I have shown. If that is the case, then I must thank God...and my mother...if she endured what she did just to make me stronger. Well...a mother's love knows no bounds.

Mary Ann Evans
Web Site: http://www.geocities.com/prairiegalca/index.html

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