When Are We Not Responsible?


Diseased Door

Diseased Door

I was told of a story recently and even after a few days of digesting it I am still bothered. Have you or I ever had life go entirely as we want and it to? Have either of us ever had things pop up that are hard to handle or even more can’t fix? I know I have.

As kids we are born innocent in this world. We are nurtured  as well as our parents know how. We become adults and have children of our own. The cycle of life repeats itself until you are filled with great-grandparents down to great-grandchildren.

What if a bump comes in the road and we don’t see it? We fall in and can’t get back out without help. Do we as family and friends turn our backs on that person? Or do we try to help them climb back out?

I am not talking about Al today. I am talking about an adult who had a great life. Makes mistakes as we all do but then is hit with an unexpected medical problem. Not all medical problems are cut and dry like the flu or maybe tonsillitis.

Some illnesses that stop by to take over are heart attacks and strokes or maybe even cancer. These types of illnesses can do more damage than the naked eye can see. It can change moods, brain waves, vision, hearing, muscle tone, weakness, and pain within the body.

So many changes that the ill person can  no longer control. What do we do now? How long do we stay around and help? Don’t we have a life of our own to live? Didn’t we go visit and pay our respects long enough?

These are questions that have been asked by some as people realize that family members are going to be stuck with these side-effects for months or maybe years to come.

When is my duty over? When can I go on with my own life? Just because an illness or stroke has taken over should we now leave them behind to suffer through until death comes knocking at their door?

I hope that my own answer is always no, never give up. Keep showing your love and keep being an inspiration to the one suffering. I heard of a human being that has suffered in this way. The illness is never going to be better. The strength is never going to be gained back.

Sometimes when we are sitting on the other side of the fence able to walk and run and play we can’t put ourselves in the shoes of the wheelchair patient. It is hard to imagine us ever being stuck in place.

But it happens, and this is sad. There are no guarantees in life for sure. This man’s family has been there but maybe could have squeezed in more time. Patience has run out, and the younger generations are tired and restless and ready to move on.

I completely understand this but what about the fact that they are relation? Does this not matter that only years earlier this patient was there for you in his good times? Is it alright to wipe him from your mind so that you can have a better time in life?

Are we entitled to move on and say the hell with him or her. I did my best. I spent time. I tried. Now this person is in danger of being left on his own, while others chase opportunities.

Oh I am not sure why I even bothered writing this. I can’t seem to get out the exact thoughts I want to be seen. All I know is that it is hurting me inside to realize that big changes are coming possibly, and the one that is going to be hurt is the patient. While the road seems greener on the other side of the fence, I still believe that blood is thicker than water. I would not rest well at nights until I knew that this human being was resting too, somewhere safe, somewhere out of danger.

22 thoughts on “When Are We Not Responsible?

  1. There is no black and white here Terry, each case is individual and decisions must be made based on all available knowledge. Even so, it does not mean that it will be the right decision. And again what is right for the one person may be exactly wrong for the other. That is a tough decision to make and if we make it only upon our own judgment, who knows if we are choosing what is really best for the other person, or if what we are choosing is what will ease our own conscience and make us feel better. The only answer I know is to put it in God’s hands and listen closely to hear what He answers. God bless you my friend!

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  2. My mom died of cancer when I was 23…spent years caring for her…stood at her side as she took her last breath. Most family only came around now & then…those who could never make time for a trip to the doctor or hospital visit…my brother who could never make time to even mow the lawn for her (he owns a lawn service)…sad how folks can justify neglecting people they claim to love. “I just don’t feel comfortable in hospitals” was my favorite excuse. You think patients LIKE hospitals???? Funny how no one seems to consider that, huh?

    I don’t suppose there are any black/white answers…maybe some folks aren’t caring enough…and maybe others of us care too much and carry our “responsibility” for others to the point of harming ourselves. I just can’t imagine walking away from my close family but every situation must be different and maybe there are times when it is “justifiable” to not take on the burden of another person’s illness…hard to know what is in other peoples’ hearts and heads, isn’t it? Harder still to make sense of it when it’s exact opposite of what is in your own heart. :-/

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    • i think it is the fact that the patient may be left to care needs alone. it is sad, you are right we all look at things differently in life. I am glad you were there to the end, even though it had to be so hard

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    • it is difficult, because most of us do care and we want to help but our lives get in the way, but for you and me Julie, it is up to us and it does become a full time job

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  3. I get this Terry. Being a diabetic with heart disease, eye disease and chronic depression I see my loved ones shrinking away from me. I feel like I will be alone sooner or later. I can’t expect them to give up there freedom and life to make me feel better. However, I stayed with my mom to the bitter end. We will see where life takes me.

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    • that is exactly what I think Vickie. I have cared for patients for 23 years. then for a year I cared for my father, and now for going on six years I have cared for Al. My time is coming and I wonder who will really be there for me or will I end up in some lonely nursing home waiting to die

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  4. This is a big issue … to be the only person to take on the responsibility for taking care of a sick family member is a massive job and I think personally that we have a right to have a life of our own too …. we can’t give up our life to care for somebody that we love dearly … and who say that we care in the right way??? There has to be a balance. During the time of care … the caring life will be damage too … and if there is nobody to share the caring with – single person, like Terry, with health problems on your own … it’s a massive task. I could care for my mum full time, but I have my problems and I need my space, but that doesn’t mean that I love her less or care less for her. We don’t have to take all the responsibility … and what happens with me … when I get older and sicker … with no children or family left ???

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    • I understand what you are saying Vivi. You have no children to help you when you need it. I worry about what will happen to me also. You are correct that no one owes us anything but yet I fear being alone and dying alone more now than I ever did. You want loved ones around and you want to know that someone is thinking about you when we get old and frail but many times we remain frail until the end of time and alone. we come into this world alone and we will go out of this world alone, but what about all the in betweens, did we not make any difference in someone’s life………………

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      • I’m sure we make differences to many people during our life … and hopefully they will tell us so … but it doesn’t mean that we have to take on everything on our own – we have a right to life too so long as possible.
        There is peer pressure on us to take care of our sick family members … but we have to think about ourselves too.

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      • well for me it was various things. I could leave Al in the nursing home but I choose to care for him until he passes on. He is my brother and my love for him makes me decide on this. There is no other family members so this was another decision in the beginning. I hope that I make a difference in Al’s life. this is another reason I choose to take on the responsibility. He had some rough breaks in his life. you are correct, we have a right to life and I believe Al has a right to feel loved and cared about. his pain level is so high. I can’t imagine him going through this alone with only nurses to pass by periodically

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  5. Well I guess you know I’ve got a little experience with this topic. Everyone does not have the privilege or opportunity that I have. Some folks are in critical positions where they work or have tremendous financial responsibilities. House payments, childrens college tuition,etc. Now that doesn’t mean they are excluded from participating. They can still do weekends or nights. I am fortunate enough to have no wife, my son is grown and supports himself and I sold my house that was paid for so that was money in the bank. If I were younger just starting out or married I don’t know if I would have been able to do what I am doing. No matter how bad I would want to. But then again I could not imagine anyone else taking care of that man other than one of his children. Also another problem with being a familial caregiver for years is it is always a temporary job which means one day you become unemployed and maybe homeless. I don’t know if you read Ebb and Flow, one of my post. In fact may I be brazen enough to suggest you read all of my post in the Death and Dying and The End Of Life Caregiver categories. You will find that you are not alone. You may even find some comfort. Be well. You are in my prayers.

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    • I worry about money now that it has been going on six years. I don’t want to give him up and I find it hard for someone else to care for him as I have tried that route. I pray that God will bring it all together in perfect timing and I will be able to go back to work at the perfect time. I have read some of your post, they are good and so real. it bothers me because the finances are becoming an issue. I guess this is a topic where I argue with myself a lot. I agree even though many work there is always a free hour here or there

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  6. Reblogged this on Tears of Truth…. and commented:
    Thank God for people like this writer.. Make sure you read on and read all of this article. At first you’ll wonder what he or she thinks ?..do they think it’s OK to forget about a loved one who’s stricken with a horrible and life altering illness? THE ANSWER IS “NO”!! So keep reading!!

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  7. I say no immediately…but, then not knowing the circumstances I would not or could not judge others in their decisions…
    With a big family I have seen this… and had to deal with it…So many questions… so many thoughts… so many different types of people…
    PRAY!

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    • it is definitely an individual decision per each family for sure, but I still feel whether large or small someone can give an hour at least per week. when we get so busy with our own lives that we can’t give a moment for a family member, my heart breaks and I feel tears

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