My Aunt’s job 24/7 is making sure my Uncle is comfortable. She was a person who loved to travel, but those days are behind her. The house is 89 degrees because he is always cold, so she sleeps in the basement for some relief from the heat. She cooks, cleans, bathes, and entertains morning till night. Many nights after she puts him to bed, she rocks on her swing in the backyard and questions why her, why them, and finding a new sense of identity. When we talk on the phone or when I sit with her on the swing, she always feels so guilty after venting about the struggles she goes through when my Uncle is the one with dementia. She has every right to feel how she does, because she is going through as much loss as my Uncle. While many of us cannot truly understand the journey of a caregiver, we can walk to show support, to say “you are not alone”, and most importantly, to say “you are a hero”.
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