An Overwhelmed Caregiver Is Reminded That She's Not Alone

A baby to care for and an elderly mother-in-law to watch over. Sometimes it seemed like too much.

- Posted on Aug 24, 2017

A basket of folded, freshly cleaned laundry

I cried today. It happened sometime between changing the diapers of my one-year-old, Annie, and those of my elderly mother-in-law, Carol, getting them down to nap and rushing to fold clothes while they slept. There was no more holding it in. No more pretending that this was how I wanted my life to be.

Laundry basket in hand, I sat on the basement stairs as the tears fell. I’m not usually one to let my emotions get the better of me. Why today? It was a day like any other—chores, doctors’ appointments, meds and baths. Why break down now over laundry?

I longed for my husband to see me in something other than sweatpants. I wanted to shower, curl my hair and look gorgeous for Jack when he came home. My mind raced as I thought of who I could call to come over and sit with the “girls” tonight. Jack and I could have dinner out, a glass of wine, a real conversation, a break from the relentless demands of caregiving.

In 2017, Our FREE ebooklet "Strength for Relationships" was given at no charge to more than 159,000 people in need of guidance and comfort in their personal relationships.                                -- GUIDEPOSTS OUTREACH                             TEAM

No one would ever be able to come over on such short notice. It was late, and I needed to start dinner. I told myself to quit being silly. I was blessed with a beautiful home, daughter and husband—a wonderful family.

With a sigh, I stood up, and the laundry basket slipped from my hands. It tumbled down the stairs, spilling its contents at the bottom. I turned my back. Dinner needed to be made.

Later that night, as I was rocking Annie to sleep, I found myself whispering an absurd promise: “Angel, I’ll never put you through this.” On my way down the hall to Jack, I stopped in Carol’s room, kissed her forehead and said, “I know this isn’t your fault.”

In the morning, I found the basket at the top of the stairs. Laundry neatly folded. No note. No questions. None needed. Jack’s simple gesture said all that needed to be said, better than a dinner out. I wasn’t in this alone.

For more inspiring stories, subscribe to Guideposts magazine.

From Strength for the Moment:Inspiration for Caregivers by Lori Hogan (Image)

View Comments