Maybe there’s something wrong with me. I cried buckets when my cat died, and have been known to shed a tear or two at a good movie. But it’s still business as usual now four months after my father’s death and even, to some degree, with the sometimes maddening changes brought about by my mother’s dementia-influenced personality.
This comes up again because a research study is underway and I am a participant. The study is sponsored in part by the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA) and is being conducted through the University of Iowa. You may recall that the NFCA interviewed me and published part of my “story” in their magazine in August. In this month’s issue, they put out a call for caregivers who like to write about their experiences. Who better than me?
My assignment today was to write continuously for twenty minutes about the deepest emotions experienced in the caregiving of my parents. In fresh ways, I told them many of the things written about before in ElderBlog. But as I reviewed the text, it struck me that what little emotion there was seemed almost forced. Maybe Mom was right a couple of months back when she opined that I was caring for her out of concern; not out of love. I’ve since given this a lot of thought and, I will confess, haven’t yet arrived at a place of agreement or disagreement. So, again I ask, is something wrong with me?
I try to keep things on an even keel thinking that emotion is not a beneficial part of getting things done. If I were smarter or better educated, maybe I’d be able to parse this out. Even then, I don’t know if the answers would be helpful to me or to caregiving.
Things continue unchanged for Mom.
As for me, reduced caregiving activity gives me time to consider my own situation. I am putting increasing pressure on myself to find meaningful (any) work after my last position was downsized nearly two years ago. Perhaps my inability to find work is a result of the economy. Perhaps it’s because of my age. Perhaps I’ve spent a lot of time tending to my parents. Whatever, I’ve got too much to give to not be giving it. Besides, I gotta make money. Ya don’t eat if ya don’t gots money.