Give Me a Break (excerpt 2)

I love my job, I love my job, I love my job…

During the darkest and most stressful moments in the snack food business, I often relied on my mantra. It also turned out to be quite useful in my new life as Mom’s caregiver. On the cusp of losing all hope, I didn’t go negative; I went positive. And if I said, “I love my job” over and over again, I just might believe it. If not, on to wine, preferably red, and plenty of it.

24/7 caregiving, especially for a loved one, is both physically and emotionally draining. Experts say, “Breaks are critical to avoid your own significant health problems.” I understood their reasoning. And even though Deecy and I took daily walks while on death watch back in February, I now resisted breaks. I thought I could handle it. Seventeen years earlier, I dealt with the stress and strain—albeit for only sixteen days—of trekking through Italy with little knowledge of the language while caring for my eighty-year-old father who was battling heart disease. I didn’t know if he’d make it back home safe and sound, let alone alive. But survive, he did.           

With Mom, I was in familiar territory. I knew the language, and she was in better shape. So, “What’s the big deal?” What’s the big deal? Didn’t Evel Knievel say something like that before launching himself into the Snake River Canyon?

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Published by A Cup of Tea on the Commode, a memoir

The parent/child role reversal might not have been unique to me, but how I dealt with it was. "A Cup of Tea on the Commode" chronicles my multi-tasking adventures, filling my mother’s last years with love, laughter, and joy. Though not always successful, I came pretty damn close.

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