Institutionalized – A Caregiver’s Story

Will I ever be able to accept what I’ve done to my parents?

I’ve locked them in a home, abandoned them for the rest of their lives.  It’s going to kill them and I’m the person responsible.

Do you know how difficult it is accepting that reality?

People look at me and know what I’ve done.  They judge me for tossing my parents aside.

I’ve become a terrible person and don’t know if my parents will ever be able to forgive me for what I’ve done.  Not a day goes by that I don’t question what I’ve done.  I question my decision each time I go to see them.

Mom cries when she sees me.  She asks if we’re going home soon.

Dad doesn’t know me but smiles when I say who I am.  His eyes light just a little before he’s sucked back into the darkness of Alzheimer’s.

The doctors and nurses have no sympathy for me or my parents.  They are concerned with making their own lives easier.  They use drugs to chemically restrain my parents.

When that doesn’t work there’s always that god damn chair.  You don’t know hell until you see your loved one strapped in a chair, a drool puddle about them on the floor.

It’s for their own protection I’m told.

I know the difference.

We treat animals better.

They use the chair to avoid having to work and deal with those things that make this disease horrible.  They have no sympathy for those they care about.  They strip their dignity, place them in a diaper and tie them to that god damn chair.

I advocate for my parents but the system is designed to wear me down.  I argue and fight but the institution pushes back until I can’t fight anymore.

They question my sanity, my ability to cope with what I’ve done.

Have they read my mind?

It hurts but I know for me to survive, I have to accept the reality I’ve helped create.  I have to live with what I have done.

I’ve institutionalized my parents but I’m the one that’s trapped.  I’m trapped in guilt watching the only people in this world to have ever loved me unconditionally subjected to legalized abuse from an institution I once admired.

I pray for my parents’  death.  Death would release them from this horrid disease.

I question whether this is what I really want because deep down I know I’m praying for relief to my own guilt and anguish over what I’ve done.

Death would release them and allow me to mourn.

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Comments

  1. I was in tears as I read this to my family.I had horrific surgery for cancer and was looked after by staff who were , ,,just doing their job, ,,, and by my dear husband and there is a world of difference. However I have made it clear that I do not ever want my children to suffer watching me fade or to see me undergo a personality change but that they must put me in a care facility and send me a card to let me know,,,,,,,as long as possible that I was not forgotten. Live your life dear one and know that your mum and dad do understand that you just suffer with them not really because of them…we are all facing decisions that will eventually change the rules and allow people to choose to die pauldp than live an empty shell of themselves….the only benefit is that through science studying sufferers that there will be breakthrough. Seven years on from the butcher’s knife to save mine, the surgeon can now do my surgery using keyhole. ALso my sister who died twenty years ago with breast cancer,,,,now the doctors can detect and cure it. Time is a great teacher and healer. LIve.

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