By Sheree Ellingson
Today I want talk about someone who came to us in need of service. She came to us under unusual circumstances. I would say by a guardian angel. For privacy, I will call her Sally. Sally is young when considering our average client age is over 80, she has stage 3 cancer and has undergone surgery for her condition. Her guardian angel called us for help with Sally because she knew she could not do it all. I met with Sally the day after her surgery. Sally herself is a caregiver for her mom, her brother and her grandchildren. That is a lot to deal with even when you are healthy.
I had the privilege of taking Sally to her doctor’s appointment one week after her surgery. We talked about several things; how precious life is and how sometimes you take it for granted that you have tomorrow when you may not but the conversation, I found most interesting is how few people are there for Sally after she was diagnosed with cancer. You see, Sally is one of those wonderful, rare humans that never said no to anyone, she told me at one time she had twenty-two people living in her house because they have nowhere else to go. Now, in her time of need, NOT ONE of those people she helped over the years has come forward to help her. This really hurts my heart, but I find this behavior to be common.
You see, I have personal experience in this matter. My dad was in the Navy when he met John. John became my dad’s fishing buddy; John got married to Pat and my parents became very close friends with them. Then John got a very unusual lung disease where he could not do anything for himself. My mom and dad took over. My dad became the “fix-it man” going over to John’s house all the time. He fixed anything broken, built a shed in the backyard, put on a large wooden porch for John could go outside to enjoy the sun, replaced the garage door, climbed ladders to cover their cherry trees from the birds, picked cherries and my mom would pit the cherries and freeze them for Pat and John to enjoy. This went on for several years until John’s passing. Then my dad stepped up to help Pat as well until my dad got lung cancer and could no longer do anything besides breathe. My dad had one lung removed and felt better for approximately six months. Then his health continued to deteriorate. Where was Pat during this time of my dad’s health failing and my mom doing it all, nowhere to be found! She called my mom one time during the last six months of my dad’s life and that was to ask my mom if she wanted to go to a movie with her. When my mom explained that my dad was bedbound and could not be left unattended, Pat said, “Oh that’s too bad, I understand this movie is really good.” Pat never called again. My mom and I have talked about this many times and my mom always states how much it hurts that Pat did not care enough to come visit or to ask how she could help my mom.
Please understand, I know not everyone is made to be a caregiver. I personally cannot be a caregiver. We are all built differently, some people have the unique ability to step in and provide care to anyone while others like me, can help with cooking, cleaning, finances, transportation but not any type of personal care. I can see what needs to be done but cannot manage it myself.
In order to save yourself from feeling angry, sad, hurt or heartbroken over your friends and family not helping you in your time of need, give Senior Helpers a call. We will always be there to help. Call 904-779-5515. Senior Care, Only Better!