"Life After Caregiving, Re-entering, One Step at a Time" - A personal account by Sharon Clayton, a caregiver and friend.
I want to share a story, a different one, one that's not tinged with sadness or anger, which my stories often are. Today, it's a story of happiness.
As you know, I rarely left my mother's side for nearly two years. I feared that something might happen to her if I weren't there. She was my top priority, and everything else took a back seat, including my trusty old car, a red 1990 Nissan 240 SX named Sophie.
Sophie and I were a match made in heaven. She handled well, had the right size for me, and was dependable. But, with my mother's care consuming my life, Sophie sat untouched for a year, and her battery went flat. It was time to face the music and get her up and running. I turned to Steve, the guy who'd been caring for our cars since '84.
Steve came over, tried starting Sophie with a jump, and she roared to life. He didn't even charge for it, saving me a tow fee. The battery needed replacing, a minor issue. Steve and his mechanic took a closer look, and we found Sophie had more problems from her long slumber, like a leaking pipe.
Money was tight, and I couldn't afford all the necessary repairs. But Steve had a solution – they could repair the pipe instead of replacing it, though it would take time. We agreed on a price for the immediate fixes, with the understanding that the remaining repairs would have to happen soon for safety.
This morning, Steve called to tell me that Sophie was ready. The mechanic had even hand-washed her, an extra touch. Sophie purred like new as I drove her around the island. It felt like a positive step back into a normal life, sans my mother. It hit me – I was free after 15 years of being her caregiver. I could enjoy some fast food, save on groceries, and take my cat to the vet. I was indebted to the folks at Mobile and planned to show my gratitude with a small token of thanks.
Life was a mix of emotions – sad, lonely, yet awesome. Selling our condo and leaving friends was tough. But I was free. Darn, it felt good!