Feeling Guilty

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Feeling Guilty

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(Editor's Note: Today, we welcome Ray, who cares for his brother, to our blogging team. You can connect with Ray on his profile page: @rjrsm.)

justice-471885_640I'm new to this site, but not to the issue of caregiving. I'm one who has been the support person for my father, mother and now brother. Through the years, I have had to travel from one coast to the other as health issues of my family required attention. No matter what was happening in my personal life, I had to stop and travel "home." As I am single, no one ever thought that I might have a life as important as my married sibling.

Whenever friends or family comment about my caregiving oversight, it's always "what a wonderful son" or "your brother is so lucky to have you." It's nice to receive these compliments, but they evaporate whenever I have to carry out making a healthcare or life decision. More importantly, these nice comments never wipe away the loneliness of my transient life.

So why do I do it? I don't know. I ask myself "what else can I do, I can't abandon my family?" Yes, I feel like running away, but I don't-- it's not me. I am always there taking care of everyone else.

Now, I'm overseeing my brother with Down syndrome. He's in rehab for a broken femur and the rehabilitation is not going well. He's full of fear of falling again. Hence, he has become difficult for the therapist. I try to be there for his therapy to encourage him, but sometimes his non-compliance demoralizes me. I keep wondering, "What is next?"

After our mother passed, I maintained my disabled brother at the family residence with support of our local Regional Center and with 24/7 caregiving. This arrangement allowed me to return to my own home and visit him five to six times a year for a month at a time. My brother is wonderful person and recovered from our mother's passing in a short time. I even got him to leave the house for an adult day care program. He blossomed into another person finding independence.

Now I'm faced with the possibility of making another life decision for my brother. If he continues to be non-compliant with the physical therapist, I may not be able to bring him home. Having him bedridden in the house scares me because of safety issues (fires, earthquake or medical needs). He cries that he wants to come home whenever he fails at physical therapy.

I'm so guilt ridden that I may have to make a decision for placing my brother, who never lived anywhere but home, in a nursing facility. I feel a failure that I can't make it better for him. While I get support from family and friends, it's only momentary and then they are gone.

I'm doing the best I can, but getting tired and worn out--that's when the guilt sets in.

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13 Comments

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lookingheavenward

Welcome Ray - so many other comments_mysql have expressed what I wanted to say so I won't repeat. We are glad you are here!

PearLady

So many great comments_mysql, I've nothing to add, but Welcome, Ray! :)

Lisa

Not selfish at all, I miss many things about the life I had before I began this journey. It's the little things that we have for us that make this doable, or it is for me anyway. I've always wanted to visit NYC. One of my friends went last year and she loved it, especially Central Park. Maybe one day I can travel again. I live in a small town in NC so I rarely get out. The larger cities are 30-45 minutes away.

Lisa

Dear Ray, thank you for being here! My Daddy, who I care for is also named Ray, and I as his \"name-sake\" have the feminine \"Rae\" as my middle name. I know exactly what you mean about guilt. Caregiving is the hardest thing I've ever done, as I'm sure it is for you. I'm an only child, and when my Mom passed suddenly I moved home with my Dad so he wouldn't have to go to a nursing facility. I have been married before and have a daughter, Bekah who is 28. She moved with me and helps me with things so much. Please try not to feel guilty, I know it's hard. I feel the same way a lot of times. Feel free to friend me or chat if you see me available. I'm also on facebook and run a caregiver support group on there called Inner Strength. Support is in numbers! Have a blessed day.\r\nLisa

Ray

Thank you everyone for the welcoming and support. Hearing from each of your stories reinforces the fact there are a lot of wonderful caring people in the world. That you each have personal responsibilities for caregiving and reached out to me has given me a little boost.

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