“Be Careful What You Wish For…”


I read the entire paper this morning – I mean, every section of the New York Times and some of the Sacramento Bee.

While being a caregiver can be deeply rewarding, every caregiver has her little resentments. My big one was never being able to read the paper before Dad took it over. When he stopped being able to read the paper in his last weeks, I was working too hard at caregiving to read. Reading the paper became symbolic of the freedom I lost as a caregiver.

Now, I have freedom, complete freedom to spend my mornings as I choose, reading the paper over a cup of coffee.

This morning I asked myself, “This? This is what you longed for?”

And I answered, “It wasn’t worth it. I’d trade a thousand mornings of reading the paper for a thousand mornings with Dad.”



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4 responses to ““Be Careful What You Wish For…”

  1. I can’t begin to tell you how perfect your words are and how as a caregiver for my mother who passed away 8 months ago, I feel so connected to everything you write. I found your blog because I do internet marketing for a home care company and as I began to read post after post I understand why I do this job. I started working here when my mom was in remission from Ovarian Cancer and shortly after I began working she had a relapse and underwent chemo for the next 2 and a half years. I have two small children, am divorced and my brother, sister and myself have been completed torn apart after our mother passed. You would think I would still feel busy with the full schedule I have on a daily basis. No, no I don’t. When you talked about resentment, I remember was my mom constantly telling me to take care of myself. She would act surprised every time I would show up at her house, as if I she was totally fine. This game went on for about a year and a half up until about 2 days before she died. As I said, I resented because she didn’t seem to get that I couldn’t care for myself at that time because she needed me. Now that I have time to care for myself and my kids, it is a lot more work than I expected it to be. I daydreamed about being able to just be at home with my kids and do laundry – now I would give anything to rush over to her house because there is a laundry list of things that need to be completed and I have to go 4 stores before 8 o’clock. Thank you so much.

    • Caregiving is about so much more than the activities related to medical care, isn’t it? Before a loved one dies, it’s also about the family tensions, and flare-ups of our tempers over annoying habits, and the pressure to keep the rest of our lives running. Then the merry-go-round stops and we find ourselves wishing for a few moments back, no matter how hard they were. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience, Julie. I know just what you’re talking about.

  2. Longing for plum blossoms
    I bow before verbena–
    Behold my tears!

    (“A priest informed me that the Abbot Daiten of the Enkaku Temple had passed away at the beginning of the first moon.. I couldn’t believe the news– it seemed like a bad dream. I at once wrote Kikaku”) above.

    (Journey of 1684)

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