On the Worst Days:
What I find the most challenging in the caretaker role is the hatred hurled at me. Rarely do I have the right words or actions that heal and console. I am the bitch of the family. I am the “one behind all of this” according to my mom. If I ask what it is that I am behind it is ‘all of it’….”you’re behind all of this. You told the doctors what to say. You are behind what the doctors decided. You are behind this guardianship.”
If anyone goes online to read about caretakers or to read about dementia what you will find are tender pictures of old people with a loving caretaker. Maybe other households have this, but more likely, it is an inaccurate picture. It is not the real world. It is not my world. The commercialized pictures show a kind old woman who is not angry that her daughter. That picture shows the peaceful daughter. The happy daughter. The rested daughter. It certainly does not show the daughter standing in the kitchen trying to find a morsel of food that satisfies the old woman. It does not show the mental burden of counting. Counting how many calls she must make when she arrives at work. Counting the number of calls she failed to make yesterday. It is not the old woman who is angry and calling her daughter’s name every five minuets to have her do something—anything. “Let the cat in—-Let the cat out”. Just make it disruptive. Make it hurt. It’s meant to hurt. It’s meant to vent.
The question is what is the natural human response to anyone who regularly and consistently blames, complains, and denigrates their caretaker? How patient the caretaker must be to take it over and over? I have the answer and it’s pretty g’damned patient because I handle it. I do not lash out. I do not hurt. I do not hurl back the anger.
No one knows. No one sees. No one cares. Why? Because I am the bitch of the family; the abuser and the attacker.
Yes, I am the bitch tough enough to step up and do this. Day after day; year after year.
And it’s all my fault. I am the one behind all of this.