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Caring for the Caregiver

Sometimes we get so involved in caring for our loved one that we forget about our own needs.

En español | Don't ask me the date. Don't ask me the time. And don't let me forget what it felt like to fall apart.

Caregiving is hard, it hurts, it lifts you with hope, then drops you into an abyss of fear. Repeat.

Dad was dying of stage IV pancreatic cancer. Tired of being poked, scanned, and sliced—and two months shy of 87—Joseph D. Bencomo chose hospice. We eight siblings chose to join Mom in caring for him at home. We took turns traveling a few blocks to thousands of miles to be with Dad in his last stage of life. It was too short. He survived three weeks post-diagnosis.

Not long after Dad died, our already broken hearts shattered. Our 86-year-old mother, Julieta S. Bencomo, began her decline. Caregiving visits resumed; this time they spanned 10 months. Despite sharing the care—in-laws and grandchildren pitched in, too—at one point or another each of us slammed into our limitations. When we did, who cared for us?
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