Sometimes a caregivers emotions are volatile, with big highs and very deep lows. These feelings are mixed with confusion and frustration when things aren’t going too well. It doesn’t take much to bring these emotions to the surface. but you ride the tide, with well all its ups and downs. You learn that you can’t hold your feelings in, or eventually it will make you sick. And remember, words once spoken under the pressure of extreme emotions can’t be taken back. It’s better to vent in other ways and never say the words to the person causing your distress.
When my husband’s mother was living with us, I started to write to get my feelings out. It seemed to help and I have continued this practice for the last thirteen years.
When Mother Kuhn moved in I was resentful at having to care for her. I resented how my world changed completely, and I fumed that it was all caused because she had smoked all her life. Smoking caused her Empysema and finally killed her. I reasoned that it wasn’t my fault she smoked herself to death, but I was forced to take care of her anyway.
I think giving up my privacy when she moved in was the worst part of it. Wayne and I had no time alone, except at night. Eventually the tension got to both of us and we argued for the first time in our married life. I mean really argued. Over the years we certainly had little disagreements, but this was serious arguing.. Thank goodness those times were few.
However, we had it easier than some other families who are trying to raise little children while looking after their ill parent. They are called the “sandwich generation.” They find themselves sandwiched between a growing family and an aging parent. It is quite a juggling act for these families to cope with caregiving. When a person rises early to get her children dressed and off to school, drives her husband to work, then spends the rest of the day caring for an ill parent, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else.
Some of these young women feel they have lost themselves...they don’t seem to exist anymore. It is just one task after another, with no time to call their own. They know it will come to an end someday, but wonder how much they can handle until their parents pass on. These woman will probably spend more time caring for their parents than they will raising their children. It is a difficult fact to face.