CREDOS: Caregiving — I

After years of coping with the emotionally charged and excruciatingly painful divorce of her parents, it came time for the adult daughter to assume the care of her aging mom and dad. The lifelong irreconcilable differences were compounded by incompatible distances — her folks lived hours away from each other. She found herself running ragged from one parent’s house to the other, struggling to take care of them, and having to listen to and endure their ongoing battle.

“She said ‘they were never there for me when I needed them because they were always fighting with each other, and now I’m supposed to take care of them? “ recalled Roberta Cole, co-author of Caregiving from the Heart: Tales of Inspiration.

The woman described is one of the almost 100 caregivers across the United States Cole interviewed for the book. She heard time and time again stories of people who had strained relationships with their elderly parents, but were forced to pick up the around-the-clock caregiving. The woman told Cole: “I’m resigned to doing this because when they’re not around, I’ll feel guilty. It’s just sad to see they never are going to stop hating each other.”

Cole recounted how another man told the story of his estranged relationship with his father. He is gay, and his father rejected him when he was a young adult. Now, years later, his father’s health was failing and he was the only one who showed up at his dad’s bedside to care. —