These days women are CEOs and bank presidents. We are surrounded by successful women in business who are role models how to create a rock solid professional resume.
AND YET…as women, we know that as strong as we are, there are times when we simply can’t do it all. Especially when it comes to caring for a loved one who is experiencing health problems or is failing.
If we haven’t had to deal with it yet, believe me, we will some day. As former first lady Rosalyn Carter once put it, “There are only four kinds of people in this world – those who have been care-givers; those who are currently care-givers; those who will be care-givers; and those who need care-givers.”
Many have asked that I share a story I wrote about our son Rich taking care of his grandmother in the last months of her life. It’s published in Chicken Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul.
Here’s a sneak peak at a small part of “Grandma’s Caregiver:”
He knew she was sliding, losing a bit more each day, eating a bit less, sleeping a bit less. But she seemed to come alive when he came into her room. Every night he asked her if she wanted to go for a ride in her wheelchair. He’d lift her frail, bony body gently out of the bed, understanding the agony it caused her. Two pillows in the wheelchair didn’t help much. “I’m like the princess and the pea, aren’t I?” she’d joke, trying not to cry in pain. He’d wheel her though the big house, and she’d talk about times long past–the holidays, his mom and dad getting married in the living room, the bridge parties, and her rose garden. She didn’t seem to notice that this house, once filled with laughter, had faded scuffed walls and drapes frayed at the hems.
When she was exhausted by her adventure, he gently helped her back into her huge bed. “Sing to me,” she said, smiling past the pain. She loved music and his songs about dreams, loves, and life lulled her to sleep, at least for a while.
By the summer they knew their time together was growing short. They toured the house less often, and now he carried her from room to room. She didn’t weigh a hundred pounds, and it was almost like carrying a child. Sometimes he’d say, “Grandma, would you dance with me tonight?” And he gently swayed to the music and sang verses he made up as they waltzed about the house…
Well now, I won’t give away the rest of the story. You’ll have to read it for yourself! But here are my words of wisdom: we need to hear other people’s stories of hope and courage. They let us know that we can be strong when we need to. And we get by with a little help from our friends. Maybe we can’t do it all, but together we CAN do what must be done!