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Being A Caregiver Has Its Sorrows and Rewards
by Janet Blaylock
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I was a caregiver for my mother from January, 1999 to May 10, 1999. In the summer of 1998, she was diagnosed with cancer. She had a tumor embedded in her jawbone. She had surgery and radiation. However, after she finished her radiation, the tumor returned as well as the cancer. In January, 1999, she was given six months to a year to live. She passed away May 10, 1999. My mother was a Christian, so I know I’ll see her someday.

During her illness, I kept her at home and hospice came each week to check her out and to assist me in her care. I also cared for my father during this time. Also, a friend helped me out a few times a week.

It was a difficult time for me because I was close to my mother. My brother lived about two hours away and came as often as he could. He also called once or twice a week. The hospice nurse who took care of my mother was concerned about me. He didn’t know if I could make it through this difficult time. When the hospice nurse came over, I said, “I made it.” He told me that I did make it through this difficult time.

Besides taking care of my mother, I was finishing up my courses at Washburn so I could graduate in May. My mother passed away the week I graduated.

After she passed away, I became my dad’s full time caregiver. He was okay to be left alone, so I continued to work as a substitute teacher.

However, in April, 2002, my father almost passed away. I got him to the hospital in time. After that, I knew that I would have to limit my time away from home. I wanted to take care of my father. In December, 2002, my father had a stroke and was hospitalized and in rehab for a month. That was a difficult time for me, too. I wanted to be with my father most of the time, so I didn’t sub that much.

Finally, I decided to not sub but to continue to renew my certificate so I could go back to substitute teaching. I wanted to stay home with my father because I never knew when he would have another stroke.

Since I decided to stay at home, I needed to find some way to earn an income to help meet our financial obligations. That’s when I found out that I could become an online tutor. In December, 2002, I became an online tutor, and I continued to work as a freelance writer.

My dad improved until he fell on May 22nd, 2005. I called for an ambulance. After several hours in emergency, they told me that he had broken his hip in three places, but it was in a row, so it would be easy to repair. He was scheduled for surgery the next day.

When my dad and I were in the pre-op room, my dad’s brother, and two of my cousins came to the hospital. My dad had not seen his brother for several years because of some bitterness between them. My cousin, Barbara, who I became really close to, shared the Gospel with my dad.

She asked him if he had ever sinned. He said, “Oh Yes.”

She told him that God loved him and that Jesus died for his sins. “Have you ever prayed asked Jesus into your heart?”

“No,” my dad replied.

“Would you like to pray and ask Jesus into your heart?” Barbara asked.

“Yes,” my dad replied.

Right in the pre-op room my dad accepted Christ as his Savior at the age of 87. We were all really happy. I was glad that God had brought the family back together again.

The day of my mother’s funeral was when we first got back together some, but it was after that when we became closer. I was also glad that God brought my dad and his brother back together again. My cousin, Barbara, and I have wanted that for a long time.

My dad went back to Plaza West for some rehab, but on Monday, they called and said they had called for an ambulance because he had taken a turn for the worse.

I rushed over there and followed the ambulance to the hospital. My dad had pneumonia and had a stroke. He was in the hospital until June 15th, 2005 when he passed away. It was an extremely difficult time for me. His first year of passing will be this June.

Later on, after the funeral, I had gone to the cemetery and saw on their stone a saying: Together Forever. I couldn't believe it. I hadn't noticed it after my mother's death. I didn't know where my dad was with God, but I'm glad my cousin felt led of God to share the Gospel with my dad and to lead him to Christ.

If my dad hadn't accepted Christ in 2005 before he passed away, they wouldn't have been together forever like it said on their stone. Now, I know that I'll see my parents again. This was a miracle from God that he brought our families back together and that my cousin led my dad to Christ.

Read more articles by Janet Blaylock or search for other articles by topic below.

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