“I tell my story so that others might see fragments of themselves,” says Lena Waithe. When you’re dealing with elderly parents or caring for a loved one in decline, it’s easy to make the mistake of thinking you’re alone and no one else understands what you’re going through. We don’t want people to make that mistake. If the events of your own story overwhelm you, know you’re not alone.
We hope the stories linked to below hold fragments of yours, things you can relate to — and find inspiration from. There are others out there dealing with challenging loved ones. Others face the challenge of convincing parents that a move will be for the best, even when that loved one is adamant they "will never move." Others out there are worried about mom or dad, and how they are going to get through to the end. Difficulties aside, there are sweet spots in this bittersweet journey. We highlight those sweet moments in the stories below, because they await you, too, even as you go through times that may be bitterly difficult.
Here, then, are stories others have shared with us, which we now share with you.
Yvonne and her family were faced with their mother’s vulnerability as early as 2012, when her mom dealt with a serious bout of pneumonia. Since then, her story has had ups and downs, but these days its definitely up; as Yvonne says, it's a “good story,” although, in her own admission, it started out "painful."
Having worked in the retirement home industry for many years, Debbie has seen firsthand the value retirement communities add to the lives of people. As her mother got older, they talked often about moving into a retirement home, with the unusual twist that her mother was enthusastic about the idea. Even then, the decision was a long process.
Read Debbie’s story
Gordon Smyth traces his story back to 1999, when his mom passed away, leaving his dad a widower. The journey had many challenges, as Gordon admits, but in between his dad change from someone who was "not always the most social" to finding a community where he was at home.
There's a lot more to Gordon’s caregiver story.
Margaret's mother was dealing with dementia. For a while, living with Margaret and her family was okay, "but soon, she needed more and more supervision that quickly grew to having somebody by her side 24 hours a day." The change in her mother was difficult to deal with, but Margaret was driven by gratitude for everything her mom did for her.
Read Margaret's story