A Decade of Care

I assumed the journey that began in February of 2013 would last a few weeks to a few months at the most. Ten years later and I am still caring for my mother and now care for my father as well. Beyond advocating for my parents, I now advocate on behalf of family caregivers, disabled people, and older adults across the country through my career. I am a writer and a speaker; I even have my own IMDB page! Care is now my entire life.


Being vocal about my experience led me to a career as a freelance writer, speaker, and organizer. I never could have imagined my life taking the turns it has thus far. There were moments when I was unsure as to whether I would ever work again, much less travel and be featured in major outlets. I’ve interviewed celebrities, traveled around the country, and found amazing friendships and community.


As I’ve said many times, caregiving can be traumatic. Some of the things I’ve seen and experienced are unfathomable to most people. It will take me a long time to heal from the scars of caring for two terminally ill parents. It will also take me a long time to say goodbye as parts of their personalities continue to fade into distant memory. Pieces of who they were broken off and tossed aside by the vicious disease that is dementia. The goodbyes do not start when they are laid to rest; rather, they started many years ago. Everything contained in my past and present makes it hard to envision a future for myself. Financial freedom, companionship, and even my own health feel insecure and uncertain.

Lessons Learned

Though I feel unsure about some things, this I know for sure: the last decade of caregiving has taught me lessons I never would have learned otherwise. I understand the importance of being present and staying in the moment, because the next moment is not guaranteed. The next moment, however, might be the one you’ve been waiting for because what is for you will find you, even if the timing and circumstances are different than you , hoped, expected, or planned. Of course, as the old addage goes: “You plan, and God laughs.” Now, I don’t know if that saying is true (I like to think God’s grace doesn’t include mocking laughter), but I’ve learned that I have to have faith in my life if I am ever going to survive. For me, that looks like practicing my faith in Christ through daily prayer, acts of service, and choosing faith over fear when fear seems like the only option.

The Next Ten Years

I don’t know how long my parents will continue to live. They’ve both defied odds and outlived life expectancies many times – a couple before I was even born. If my parents are still with me for the next 10 years, I hope they are comfortable and know they are loved. If they have passed onto their heavenly home, I hope I learn to live with my grief, feeling sadness while also finding ways to honor them, their legacy, and their memory.

My career may remain in the aging and caregiving space, it could dart or meander in another direction… or many other directions. I’ve always wanted to work with children and, not having any of my own, I hope for the opportunity in the future. I could pursue intergenerational research in academia. The possibilities are endless. As are my dreams. I’d love to live in a new city, find a solid community, have stable health, and be part of a beautiful relationship as strong as my parents’.

Whatever I’ve done and wherever I go, I know that care will always be a part of my life in some way, shape, or form. Care is at the core of who I am. Giving care is but one manifestation of this. I’ve also spent my life as a care recipient, a care coordinator, and care advocate. However care shows up from here on out, I simply hope that life is good.

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