Unsung Heroes

November was National Family Caregivers month. Which means, of course, that I waited until December to talk about it! But better late than never. It’s an important topic.

The premise of the month is to celebrate those who care for loved ones in need of daily help. The person may be aging, disabled, or some combination of the two.

It is so great that there is a month dedicated to caregivers. They are deserving of the recongition, as caregiving truly is a sacrifice of time, energy, and emotion. When you hear of someone living with a disease or disability, people often think of the person living it. But it has an impact on everyone, including friends and family. Especially family.

In my case, my family has been front and center on my disease journey, and has watched my muscle weakness progress over the years. I have changed before their eyes.

The weaker I have gotten, the more my parents have had to care for me, day in and day out. I am no longer at the point where I can live on my own, and need help getting out of chairs, showering, getting dressed, and transferring. I also need help doing other things that I don’t want to describe, to spare you the mental picture.

Caregivers are unsung heroes!

My parents have had to adjust to the job over the years, but have done so admirably. There’s no question – we all wish my situation was different. My parents want me to live in Boston just as much as I want to. I never thought my parents would have to care for me as an adult, just as they expected their later years to be more relaxing. But it is what it is, and we have to do the best we can. That’s all we can do.

And they have answered the call.

My parents do so much for me every day, and I am very lucky. I wrote about them for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day a couple years ago, and those letters are a still reelvant today. I am very blessed to still have my parents and thank God every day for them!

My disease has taken its toll on them too. They are in their 70s now, and are not getting younger. (I’m not sure I was allowed to say that. Oh well.) And watching their son fall and not be able to get up has brought them to tears several times. I know that when I fall, I worry more about them than I do about me. I’ll be fine. I’ve fallen plenty of times before. Life has its frustrating moments, but we find ways to laugh. Laughter is essential.

Thank you to my parents, and thank you to all the wonderful caregivers out there. You are the embodiment of love and sacrifice.

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