As people become accustomed to the role of caregiving and as they have mastered each aspect of it, down to the science of what makes the patient happy, what keeps them cared for while feeling loved, it becomes difficult to let go. These caregivers have the web that is neat, beautifully and lovingly spun to sparkle in the moonlight and catch each bead of dew in the morning sunlight. So while respite is needed because this job is also incredibly exhausting, it is almost too difficult to step away. Letting someone else take the reins, even for a few hours removes the meaningful dance of caregiving from their day, and the life of independence that was once enjoyed seems alien. Even if family could come in to provide a week vacation, their mind may linger in the home where their system is being butchered by amateurs.
This is one aspect of caregiving that is very difficult for caregivers to realize and accept. They are no longer free at this point. They have become so entwined in living their lives to provide for others that they do not know how to let go enough to live for themselves. This begs the question of what becomes of the caregiver when they no longer have someone to care for? It is inevitable that caregivers will eventually resume their lives, but can they find fulfillment again? How long before they can live for themselves without the gaping hole that is left by the loss of caregiving? It is like the empty nest syndrome but on a different level. This is a problem that will need to be addressed as more people become caregivers for extended periods and then must cope with the aftermath.