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I've looked at life from both
From up and down, and still somehow
It's life's illusions I recall
I really don't know life at all
"Both Sides, Now" as written by
Lyrics © Joni Mitchell/Crazy Crow Music/Siquomb
Music, Universal Music Publishing Group, Sony/ATV
Music Publishing LLC
As we stand in the midst of the 2012 holiday season,
please allow me to cautiously interject myself into
the discussions between primary and long-distance
Throughout this holiday season, we have
been running an educational series called the
Caregiver Board of Directors’ Meetings. This,
of course, refers to us being able to take advantage
of the time we will be with our fellow adult family
members throughout the holidays to conduct
meaningful meetings about important topics
pertaining to our loved one’s care.
makes sense that if you are the CEO of Caring for My
Loved One, Inc., your family members who are not
involved with the day-to-day details of caring for
your shared loved one are, in effect, your Board of
Directors (for better or for worse).
But first, let’s go into the
Wayback Machine for a moment…The year was 1994 and I
was living in Atlanta. My mom had been a primary
caregiver—first for Dad and then, after he passed
away, for my grandparents as they began to need
care. During those years, I would return home
at least once every six weeks to help in whatever
way I could. But, one late August night, I heard
something in her voice during a phone call which
made me realize more was needed of me—and fast.
had planned to spend about two weeks in Miami, where
my mom and the rest of my family lived. I
thought I would be able to help Mom and then return
to Atlanta. Within hours of arriving in Miami,
I found myself racing around town helping Mom do all
she needed to do as family caregiver. We were in and
out of doctors' offices; there were endless hours on
the phone with insurance companies, midnight dashes
to the hospital, life and death decisions for both
grandparents, heartaches and stress. At the end of
my time in Miami, I sat at dinner with Mom,
breathlessly recounting the previous two weeks and
told her that I was grateful to be able to come home
during this intense time of overwhelming challenges.
Mom looked at me, not
understanding what I was trying to say.
Because, for her, this was simply a regular two-week
period in her life as a family caregiver.
For long-distance caregivers: No
matter how much you care, sometimes it is impossible
to know what the primary caregivers go through until
you spend a few weeks in their shoes.
For the primary caregiver: (See