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Time Splintered

Time fractured when my first husband died.

There was a before, which no longer existed, and an after, which was unimaginable.

In between, the thinnest–unfathomably thin–line, was the today. The today meant putting one foot in front of the other. One today led to the next today. And finally the year was over.

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Love Is the Key

Collecting dust on the rustic wooden shelves above a sturdy workbench in my basement are models of history-making ships, spaceships and military fighter planes. There’s an enormous replica of the Space Shuttle Atlantis, complete with iconic NASA logo and a massive orange fuel tank nestled next to its launch tower. Not far off is a black-and-brown plastic replica of the forty-four-gun frigate USS Constitution, its hull held together by two gigantic bolts.

Their maker has

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Joe

You’re in the hospital again, propped in bed with pillows keeping you from listing to one side or the other, and I’m sitting on a pink pleather chair I’ve pulled up next to the bed.

We watch Dr. Phil until 4:00. I always find this show melodramatic, but you seem riveted. You want to know about these people, their lives, their lies, what they’ll do with the information unveiled to them.

When Dr. Phil signs

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And Then the Dog Died

Muscle memory. It’s an amazing thing. It’s what keeps my fingers playing Für Elise on the piano long after I’ve stopped taking lessons. It’s the pressure I sense in the crook of my elbow from linking arms with my late husband. It’s why every time I go for a walk I feel the pull of the leash from my dog Elvis, even though he too is gone.

Muscle memory holds on to real memories. And

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Contented, Though Demented

The last two years of my father’s life were interesting. Our previous roles were reversed: Dad was now the child, and I the adult. I moved him to a new city and state, getting him close enough to keep an eye on him. He was already suffering from dementia, a realization I came to after he had forty thousand dollars stolen from him.

That’s right. Forty thousand dollars.

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Almost Normal

His steps are wobbly. Our children hold their father’s hands to steady him as they move through the sand toward the ocean. I remain far back on the shore, shading my eyes to make out the three of them as they stand in the shallow water.

I am thinking that he looks like a ten-year-old child from this distance. My sight turns blurry, a combination of sun, sand and sorrow.

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Look Me in the Eye

I was new.

Seventeen days earlier, a discerning pediatrician had recommended tests to untangle my five-year-old son’s cluster of puzzling symptoms—headache, vomiting and double vision. The alarmed face of the radiation technician in the booth during the CT scan was my introduction to a world where I didn’t know the rules, the language or what was expected of me.

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A Beginner’s Touch

My husband George got to know Ruthie while he was sitting with his mom during her final days in an assisted-living facility. Ruthie, a hospice worker, was a middle-aged woman who had reentered the workforce after raising her kids. As a nursing-assistant trainee, she was learning on the job, with George’s mom, unconscious and steadily declining, as one of her first patients.

Soon after meeting Ruthie, George was struck by her lack of self-confidence.

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Bedtime Ritual

I had planned to take care of my dad at the end of his life.

In 2009, Dad retired at seventy-five because of Parkinson’s disease. Over the next couple of years, he lived in his own home. My younger brother Mark, who lived nearby, faced the first difficult milestones brought on by Dad’s declining health. Mark was the one to tell Dad that he could no longer drive. And after Dad moved out, Mark took

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Doing Time

Doing Time

COVID-19 Confinement, Day Four: My partner, James, sleeps. He coughs. He breathes. He smiled this morning when I brought in tea. He nodded when I asked if he wanted the curtains open so that he could look at the sea, then returned to sleep.
We’re quarantined in James’s new beach house on a skinny peninsula that’s only three blocks wide, bay-to-sea, off of New Jersey. I am a stranger here. When a cardiologist covering for

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The Memory Unit


Ann Anderson Evans ~

I arrive in the memory unit at 1:30 in the afternoon. Jean, my mother’s sister, is fast asleep in her hospital bed in Room 1410. For the past ten years, it has fallen to me to be her frequent visitor and care monitor. I do this willingly because without her generosity and compassion, my life would have been far less meaningful and enjoyable. She never married, but my brothers

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My Love Affair With Jude


Larry Bauer ~

In August 2016, our daughter Rachel and her husband Alberto traveled up from Memphis with their two children, Noel and Jude, to visit my wife and myself in Dayton, Ohio.

One afternoon during their stay, I was sitting in my favorite reading chair beside our kitchen area. Glancing over my shoulder, I saw seven-year-old Noel playing. Beside her, lying tummy-down on the floor, was three-year-old Jude. He was in

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