This is actually a very difficult topic because it is hard to admit that I feel something that I should not feel. It seems wrong to have the emotions I have right now, but it also seems wrong to feel ashamed about what I feel. This is where I get into the difficulty of dealing with and accepting certain emotions that occur in the caregiving world. The emotions that we may pretend do not exist because it seems wrong or shameful to accept them as legitimate.
My mother and father-in-law called today to talk with my husband. They had not spoken in a few weeks at least, and they caught up on their lives. When I came home, I listened to my husband talk about the great things his parents were doing, how much fun they were having. He talked about the way they were spending their free time as retired individuals, and I am genuinely happy for them because I love them, but at the same time, I felt extremely jealous. My husband can talk with his parents about their great lives, but when I talk with my parents, I listen to the stress and fears they possess as caregivers. I try to be supportive, but I worry about them and their own health which is deteriorating as they wear themselves down with their roles as caregivers.
How could I possibly feel so much anger and jealousy? This can’t be healthy, but it is a reality. I feel like my parents had more than a decade of their life stolen from them. They have not had family support except for my husband and I , and with two kids with special needs, jobs, and school, we can only relieve them once in while. I do not blame my in-laws or my husband. They are lucky to find this enjoyment in their lives, but I am angry at the lack of family support my parents have. I am angry that they do not get free time. I am upset with the people who have abandoned them without a thought. I fear for their health more than anything. This is just another example to me of the far-reaching effects caregiving can have on families and the complexity of the emotions involved. I am thankful to have parents who give so much of themselves to be the incredible caregivers they are, but I cannot let go of the worry, and the sadness I feel for them as they work without reprieve. I admire them, and I wish I could help them all at the same time. I feel guilty for feeling this way, but it is my truth right now, and I cannot deny my emotions.