As the daddy of a friend of mine aged into his nineties, slowly shifting from vibrant and cheeky with well-fitting slacks and expensive shoes to pushing a walker in cozy flannel, grumpily yelling at people to talk up, she took a while to get prepared.
Before he needed it, she installed a security bar and rubber no-slip pads in his bathtub, added his name to an inventory for an occasional personal support employee, and discussed his end-of-life wishes. And when he was diagnosed with cancer — and opted to not get treatment — she embraced his decision with grace, feeling confident that, whatever happened, she was ready.
In spite of everything, she lived right across the road from him made it easy to pop in often and if he needed her urgently, she could possibly be at his side in minutes. Her kids were teenagers and helped of their grandfather’s care, dropping groceries off, reading the newspaper to him, and even making fruity smoothies when he could now not chew.
She began to explain her caregiving role as “traumatizing”
Everyone in our friend group lauded her efforts to assist her dad — though it wasn’t hard to identify the dents that started to appear in her super-caregiver armour as he became more sick. Over several months, trouble sleeping and depression took a toll on her, she admitted to not pondering of all the pieces, just like the grief, and she or he began to confer with the entire experience as “trauma,” and “traumatizing” — at all times apologizing afterwards, guiltily tripping over her words as she reassured everyone how much she loved her dad.