The week before the cruise, I asked Clara if she had made her final care arrangements. She told me what they were, which involved very little of her own daughters. Then she said, “Since Zack will be home, he can put me to bed at night.” I said, “No, he can’t.” That rattled Clara. I told her that Zack had finals to study for and that we should be able to go away for a week and between her two daughters, they should be able to do what we do the rest of the year. I pointed out even though we had traveled a lot that past year, when you consider the amount of days in a year, and that we had been gone less than twenty days so far, it wasn’t too much to ask. I was determined to stick to my guns on this one; I guess I felt like I had a point to prove. Then Clara looked dejected and I felt bad. I told her I was sorry that the cruise was bad timing and that I didn’t want her to feel like she was a burden to us. I expressed that I felt it was reasonable for her to ask her own daughters to help out; after all, she is their mother. Clara said she understood and that we deserved to go on the cruise and I didn’t need to apologize for it. When she would say stuff like that it would make me feel like crap for being hard nosed. I went back to my side of the house, and later came over with a cup of hot tea as a peace offering. I heard Clara on the phone with one of her daughter’s saying, “She said Zack can’t put me to bed, I guess I’ll sleep in my chair.” I tipped toed back to my side and felt so torn. I thought I would let Zack know the outcome and see if he would reconsider. Was this a principle really worth fighting for? Why did she always want it easiest on her own daughters? I waited a few minutes then went back with a cheerful, “I have some hot tea for you” and Clara was off the phone. She told me that her daughter that lives a mile from our house would come over each night to put her to bed. That was a relief to me and Clara.
I was Clara’s full time caregiver for 8 years. I mentioned earlier in
this blog that I am posting exerpts from my book, Life with Clara – One
Caregiver’s Journey. My goal has always been that my experience and honesty
could help others in this life changing role. My entire account is available at