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Standing Up to Family
By: Cindy Wolke
In 2000, my mother got the courage
to leave her emotionally abusive marriage after 31
years. Two days after moving in with me, she had a
stroke. My father was still in town. That first
night sitting in the emergency room, not knowing if she
was going to be okay, he began to insist that he was
taking her home. I knew if he did she would not get the
I found my voice and told him she would not
be returning with him; she was staying with me! In a
matter of hours, I had to learn how to advocate with
doctors to make decisions about medical care. As it
turned out, she would also need surgery for a pacemaker.
Seeing that I was not backing down, my father
reluctantly went back home.
Over the next few weeks, he
continued to try to interfere. So next, I had to
become an advocate in legal matters, helping my mother
turn over power of attorney to me and getting a quick
divorce. In the years since, it continues to be her and
me against the world. Her medical issues are many and
they often baffle the doctors.
Too many times, I have
had to stand up to the doctors and ask for more help.
But where did I learn to have a voice and to stand up as
a fearless caregiver? From my mother. You see, I
was disabled growing up and my mother always stood up
for me. She was my fearless caregiver. Now, it is