I wasn’t going to publish this…but what the heck! A lot of my fellow caregivers loved it when I shared it privately on Facebook so let’s go public.
There’s an old adage:
If you don’t want to care for your disabled family member,
then don’t attack their caregiver.
Actually, it’s not old. I just made it up. But to me, it makes an awful lot of sense.
I suppose this article was inspired in March/April when Michael was battling for his life against pneumonia. His eldest (adult) child began inquiring about Michael’s possessions but never said the those four beautiful words, “How are you, Dad?”
That pissed me off. To me, the greed was blatant. Planning ahead to swoop in and grab if the pneumonia won and Michael passed on. Ummmmm, not even legal.
But, of course, I spouted off on social media. Yes, I’ve turned into one of those people who address problems generally instead of to a specific person. But in my defense, I’ve been No Contact for five years after they worked hard to drive me away.
Anyways, long story short, this individual excused not saying, “How are you?” by claiming they were trying to, “Keep things positive.”
Now, I know from experience how much it hurts to have a chronically ill parent, but for some reason, this “positivity” rankled and I’ve been quietly cogitating on it ever since, trying to figure out exactly why it bothered me so much.
Now I know: It feels like this “positivity” is really just selfishness at best, cowardice at worst.
I spent eleven years being 100% available when my father had cancer. In contrast, my step-kids haven’t lifted one finger for their father since becoming adults. For years, they verbally attacked him and I, his sole caregiver, with a vitriol based on fantastic lies that took my breath away.
I’ve been taking care of their father alone for eight years now. Added to thirteen years of Dad’s cancer…Heck! That’s my entire adult life.
Of the three step-kids, only ONE ever said, “Thank you for taking care of Dad.” I don’t need to be thanked but it is polite and I appreciated that fleeting moment of gratitude.
They don’t like me as a person or step-mother because I insist on truth. They change their “truth,” realities, loyalties and “facts” faster than a triple agent international spy. They’ll paint a family member, even their own mother, as Mother Theresa one day and Cruella Deville the next, turn and turn about, as it serves them. Their tune changes depending on who they’re talking to. What’s that line Jack Carson had in the 1954 A Star Is Born: “If you’ll be kind enough to glance between my shoulder blades……Mr. and Mrs. Gubbins……you’ll find there a knife,on its handle are your initials.”
But one thing is surely true: they don’t want the job of being a caregiver!
I guess my age is showing because I expect a human being to have basic good character, a sense of duty, good manners, integrity, honesty and to behave lovingly, not just mutter “I love you.” Silly me.
Just don’t piss off the caregiver. It’s really bad form.