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 Crossing The Rubicon

In a recent telephone call with a friend halfway around the world, the true nature of caregiving became yet a little clearer to me. Hal is the primary caregiver for his mother who is living with early stage Alzheimerís disease.  One day, he was confronted with a situation he had never let himself think about before. In retrospect, he admitted to himself that his motherís condition was deteriorating; but suddenly and seemingly out of the blue, he found that her condition had changed to the point where it was necessary for him to assist with her bathing.

Hal was, at first, exceedingly disquieted by the task before him.  This was one life passage he had never even contemplated, let alone discussed, in his entire life.  He had taken on the role of caregiver to his mom without complaint and felt good about his ability to ensure that she was kept safe and sound in a loving home, but this would be one very big step he was about to take in his relationship with her.

After actually bathing his mother for the first time, Hal was quite surprised by how he felt about it.  He had expected to now need years of couch-time with a therapist, or at least to wake up trying to shake off the images of the experience. He knew that it was important for his mother to be living with him and that in her particular situation, it was the right thing to do unless or until conditions demanded a different solution. What he hadnít realized was that the experience would leave him feeling honored and not just a little bit proud.  Honored that he was able to shepherd his mother through this crucial time in her life, and proud that he was able to do what was necessary to keep her healthy and safe.

Meeting this challenge became a life passage from which Hal graduated magna cum laudeónot only due to his hard work and good deeds, but also due to his recognition and appreciation of his own actions. 



Gary Barg

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