Because I have long lived in the same town as my elderly parents, most of the caregiving responsibilities have fallen to me. Still, my sister was a great help to me in caring for our father when he was alive, and is even more present now as our mother moves further and further away from us. Her medical expertise has saved both our parents' lives more than once these past several years of hospital visits. (My sister and brother-in-law: eight; hospitalists: zero.) She is always thanking me and doing nice things for me--visits to spas, trips to Europe--things that make the stress of caregiving disappear if only for a while. We both do what we can do and give what we can give.
I'm not caring for our mother at home anymore--she's in the Alzheimer's section of an assisted living place. Still, most days now I feel like Sisyphus. It takes a crazy kind of strength even to get out of bed, to try to hold my life, and her life, together. But yesterday my beautiful sister emailed an article to me. In her message she wrote, "You are fully human. (You'll understand after you read this.)" It's the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.
I know there are so many people on OS (and beyond) who are in different stages of shouldering similar responsibilities, and not just with elderly parents, either. I want to share with you this message of grace, with hope that it brings a new meaning to what you do.