March 12, 2008 – is the day all my hopes and dreams for the future died.
It took me 14 years to start acknowledging this and I am finally letting myself be angry and grieve what I lost that day.
For 14 years I have been focused on making sure Shawn had the most amazing life possible. I made sure kids had a stable life and they never felt burdened or overwhelmed. In the meantime, I took it all on myself and felt selfish to ever be angry or sad. How do you grieve someone that is still alive? How could I be sad or angry when Shawn was the one that this happened to? I forgot that it happened to me too. I stayed strong and positive because that was the only emotions I would let myself feel.
I am not sure why now but maybe it was my mind and body’s way of protecting itself since I was becoming pretty broken inside. It must have been a combination of life slowing down from the pandemic and my oldest moving out and not there to keep me sane. This past January I also turned 50, which made me realize that I have been a caregiver since I was 36 years old. My entire 40’s are a blur.
I know I am strong but I am also a person and the health care system has constantly tried to chew me up and spit me out. The system is not set up to help caregivers. We are expected to take it all on but there is no one looking out for us. For 14 years the home care system has referred to me as “the wife”. They can’t find staff well “the wife” will do it. It’s sink or swim and I swam hard for many years but it is catching up to me now. I am physically, mentally and emotionally drained.
2022 is my year. It has to be. I can’t continue to be who I need to be for another 14, 20, 25+ years if I don’t take the time to be angry, to be sad and to take care of myself for once. I need to figure what can my hopes and dreams be for the future. I have made a list for myself of my goals for this year. Some are personal and some I am open to share and hopefully I inspire other long haul caregivers in the process through this blog and my Tik Tok videos (nancyw6252).