When I first joined this site three years ago, I was a complete novice in this world of elder care. Forced into a journey of looking after my father in law, I was faced with such anger, resentment and resistance that I truly didn't know how I was going to cope.
The people on this forum made me feel safe; that my feelings and emotions were normal; that I was not a mean and evil person because I hated my situation ... the reality was that my situation was hard, hard, hard.
After three years of resistance and anger, my father in law became dreadfully ill with mesothelioma stage 4, and in the last 6 months of his life he was bedridden and terribly frail. All he wanted was me. He allowed me to look after him and nurse him, to take care of him, to hold him and feed him, to change, wash and help him with his bodily functions.
And somewhere in the last few months, we found a place of acceptance and gentleness with each other. No more anger, no more resistance, no more resentment. Just a gentle acceptance and enormous compassion within me for this man who needed me to do everything for him; just gentle acceptance and love from this man towards me, who now depended on me for absolutely everything.
It has been very hard and exhausting. I don't have to tell you people how hard this journey is. I promised him that he could die at home, and he did so last Saturday in my arms, with his sons holding his hands and feet.
My journey as a caregiver has come to an end, but I seriously would not have kept my sanity if it wasn't for you amazing people on this forum. You normalised my feelings, gave me inspiration when I didn't know where to turn, helped with practical issues like how to face changing a dirty nappy again, and all round just held my hand ... so that in turn I could hold his.
I wanted to say thank you to you all. Thank you to the administrators of this site, for putting it together and allowing us this space where we can be each other's strength.
I honour you all from the depths of my heart. May your load be made lighter today from the support you find on this site.
With love to you all,