Guilt is such a powerful emotion and it’s so common in caregiving! (Add in Jewish guilt, and it takes it to a whole new level!)
I felt guilty each night leaving Nanny at the nursing facility. I’d had been there for dinner; I’d fed her, helped dress her for bed; we’d made phone calls to talk to her sisters, Skyped with the other grandkids; we’d watched Jeopardy; and by 8 pm, she was in bed for the night. Yet, walking out that door was one of the hardest things to do! The walk from her bed to the door couldn’t have been more than 10 feet, but it felt like walking the gangplank. I wanted to stay, but I wanted to go; I wanted to go but I wanted to stay!
“You have to leave nowww? Ok, ok you go; go do what you have to do. Go on the computer, on J-date, and write some men! And make mom dinner. She works too much!”
“Get your beauty sleep, Nan! You’ll need your energy for physical therapy. I’ll make mom dinner; not to worry. And I’ll bring my computer tomorrow so we can look through the profiles together. You know how to pick ’em! Sleep well! Love you so much!”
I kissed and hugged her goodnight over and over, but it was never enough for either of us. She’d wave from her bed and I’d blow kisses on my way out the door.
When I was with her, I felt guilty because I wasn’t doing enough. When I was away from her, I felt guilty because I wasn’t there. I felt guilty because I was healthy. I even felt guilty when I didn’t feel guilt! This is an emotion that will eat you alive! And it’s no good for your caregiver journey.
Watch Leeza’s video for great tips on dealing with this unavoidable emotion: