Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. ~ George Bernard Shaw
Being a Caregiver
I loved my husband with a passion – not that we didn’t have our ups and down, we certainly did. We dealt with many challenges during our marriage—from raising his three children to the loss of his job when the company he worked for collapsed.
Yet all this paled when my husband was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Gradually I embraced a new persona, that of caregiver, and he became a shadow of his former handsome, strong, athletic self. It was a gradual change, and gradually we learned to cope and go on with our lives—not in the ways we had, not into the future we had planned—but into a new and different way of being together. We held on to many of the things we loved—travel and being in nature—and we focused on how we could manage to keep doing these things for as long as we could, rather than on what we could no longer do.
Life Before Caregiving
I grew up in a small farming community in rural Brentwood, California in Contra Costa County, about fifty miles from the San Francisco Bay Area. I loved wandering my father’s orchards with my dog and watching the changing seasons.
I went away to high school to a private girl’s college-preparatory school in Berkeley, California called The Anna Head School. It was a boarding school, but I came home every other weekend.
I have always loved to write, and I filled my diaries with the usual adolescent angst. I also had a fascination with psychology—trying to figure out why people, myself included, did what they did. One of my roommates and I used to “psychoanalyze” each other. Sometimes that could be quite brutal. I guess Hitchcock’s films and the ‘50s romanticization of alienated youth influenced us. James Dean was my idol and rebellious role model.
What Did I Do Before Becoming a Caregiver?
I taught students in junior high and high school. I enjoyed connecting with my students and seeing that spark of illumination in their eyes when they achieved success or actually got the concept I was trying to teach. It was the personal interaction I liked best—the person-to-person relating.