It's been 4.5 years since my dad passed. I thought I was moving forward but lately I am struggling again. I've been the family caregiver for as long as I can remember. I took care of my mom after her cancer diagnosis and then I helped my grandmother with errands and appointments. I also helped my sister when she had her son and then my father had his stroke at 81 years old.
I tried so hard to do it all. Before my dad had his stroke, I had paid the bills, cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, shoveled the snow and did the grocery shopping. After he came home from rehab, I managed his meals, his meds, his appointments, blood sugar, blood pressure.
In rehab he almost starved to death from the side effects of the medications. I told the social worker, I would make all the changes to the house so he could come home and I would take on his care. I thought I was keeping up but his grumpiness took a toll on me. He started refusing his meds. This is where I made a fatal mistake. I remember telling the doctor in November 2015 about this and he said this is can only happen in the short term.
I even got a call from the doctor in January 2016 because the pharmacist had noticed I had not come back for his meds in three months. I tried to get my dad back on track but he would put up his arm when I gave him the meds. My siblings didn't support me either and I was struggling with anger and resentment.
I feel so stupid now that I gave up instead of calling the doctor or going to the social worker or even calling 911. He needed those meds to stay alive. His heart started to fail him. He was in pain and even told my sister he was not a person anymore. Here I was trying to keep everything going and failing to do the most critical thing which was ensure he was taking his pills.
We met the doctor in October 2016. She said he had heart failure and believed he had 6 more months. Two days later he died. I visited him before work that day. Trying to help feed him his lunch. He was so weak and not even the nurse suspected he was dying. I feel terrible about how impatient I was that day and I just left to go to work.
My whole life, I thought it was my duty to care for my parents. No matter how grumpy my father was every day, I still had a duty and moral responsibility in which I failed him.
Not one person has ever blamed me, but I blame myself. To this day, it is something I struggle to come to terms with.