The Truth About Caregiving: Your Determination Isn’t Enough
After caring for my ill son, my dying husband and my elderly mother, I’ve learned that you can fight only so hard to save a loved one
By Tracy Grant
October 26, 2021
I might not always have found such pleasure in a small victory. I have played the role of caregiver to loved ones who were seriously ill three times in my life — and I did not used to believe in settling for minor triumphs.
When I moved my mother across the country at the start of the pandemic, I was more than two decades past that premature birth and more than a decade past the cancer diagnosis. I was about to become a primary caregiver again, and yet none of this felt familiar. The disease itself was different — dementia cannot, of course, be defeated — but so was I. Once I believed that if I cared enough, I could solve any problem. Now I knew this had been a fiction all along.
With [my son and husband], I allowed myself the delusion that there were aspects of their care that I could control. I have no such delusions now. But the truth is that I am no less and no more powerful in caring for my mother than I was for my son and my husband. No more or less in control than I ever was. Just more aware of the limitations of being a caregiver — which is to say, the limitations of being human.