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.

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- 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.

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.

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

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