.Caregiver of the Month
Esther Des Vergers
Experiencing Love and Life...One Day at a Time
"God Doesn't Give Us More Than We Can Handle"
They say "God doesn't give us more than we can handle," but I must admit there have been several times during the past few years that have made me wonder.
The summer of 1997 seems to begin this journey on which I still find myself. My younger sister Harriet, at the age of 37, was diagnosed with stage III Breast Cancer. After her immediate mastectomy, the family rallied around her constantly to help her in her vigilant fight. At that time, her two daughters (12 and 14) also needed stability at home. Our entire family (and then some) pitched in to assist with the rigorous schedule of chemo treatments while trying to maintain a somewhat normal atmosphere at home.
Our Dad had previously left our family to move back to New Jersey with an old ladyfriend (we live in Florida). Dad had not been in touch with us for over twelve years, although we had attempted to maintain contact with him. Mom never divorced him, and we all worked hard to "hold the fort together." When Harriet became so sick, she wanted Dad. I called him and found him to be experiencing difficulties also. His "lady" was being placed into a nursing home and he could no longer take care of himself. Harriet asked me to go get Dad before something happened to either one of them, and my husband and I brought him back to Florida.
Needless to say old wounds reopened, and Dad and Harriet lasted together for only three weeks. I got Dad! The best is yet to come! Mom offered the use of a room and bath in her home to take care of Dad as long as she didn't have to have anything to do with him. I accepted.
In the interim, Harriet underwent reconstruction and we were so happy to see her dance at my son's wedding. The summer came and went, but Harriet still never really felt well, The sky fell once fall arrived. Not only did the cancer come back full and fierce, but by this time she was pregnant. She made some very dignified decisions and withheld any treatment for the baby's first trimester. Harriet accomplished her mission.
The baby was born on Mother's Day of 2000 and Harriet passed away two days later. She left us three beautiful daughters and many memories as well as tears. She also taught me to live life to the fullest and that there is no time to waste in this life.
May I add that through all of this, Dad was suffering with Alzheimer's and the craziness that goes with it. He and I are still plugging along. We laugh and cry (sometimes at the same time). Our days are not always perfect and I don't always have solutions for our predicaments, but I do know that when all of this is over I want to know that I did the best that I could for both of them
Most of all, my EMPOWERING CAREGIVERS has been such a comfort to me. It has become my best friend when I have those rare few moments to log on and all of you have taught me Love and Compassion beyond belief.
Copyrighted by Esther Des Vergers November 2001
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