If Only…

If only I could restore your health as easily as I restored this old photograph of you.

If only I could crop out Parkinson’s Disease and smooth out the creases of dementia. If only I could recreate the parts of your memory that have been torn away.

If only I could repair your weakened heart and uncooperative limbs. If only I could erase the anger and resentment you feel… and the denial. And the fear.

But there’s no Photoshop for aging and disease. Those are things I just can’t “fix.”

When this portrait was made, there was no thought of life as it is now, with your world so small and your options so limited. You were strong and confident and beautiful.

When I see you like that, it helps me understand your bitterness and resentment… maybe deep inside, you still see yourself as you were then.

So it’s okay if you blame me for “taking away your freedom.” Caregivers often bear the brunt of unresolved emotions and denial from the loved ones they care for. I get that.

You can push me away… you can refuse to acknowledge your need of care… you can continue to reject my efforts. I’ll still do the best I can, every day. Every night. Not perfectly, maybe, but sincerely. And with love.

Because I’m strong too. After all, I’m your daughter.

5 thoughts on “If Only…

  1. Profile photo of ejourneysejourneys

    I love this, Jan, and that is such a beautiful photo — I can see the resemblance to your own. On this particular day especially I can identify with the “bearing the brunt” part. Sometimes it just crosses a certain threshold.

    I know my partner still sees herself as she once was, and that plays a big role in her own emotional upheaval.

    Bless you for your strength, love, and understanding, and for your perseverance.

  2. Profile photo of DeniseDenise

    This is just beautiful, Jan. Wow! The photos and your words gave me goose bumps.

    I love how you find a tangible way to describe what can feel so intangible–loss.

  3. Rosemary Rawlins

    This is one of the most beautiful testimonies I have ever read, and I literally stumbled on this.
    Such beautiful sentiment, so genuine, honest and true. Makes me love caregivers all the more.

  4. Profile photo of Bette

    Hi Jan,
    Thank you so much. Such a wonderful sentiment for your mom and for others whose world, as you said, has become small. Jan, you are an example of loyalty. Your mom is so blessed to have someone so strong and steady by her side. To understand her hurt from the losses is a gift you give yourself. It provides peace (as you know).

    Thinking of you Jan. Thank you again for these wonderful words.


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