A Letter to Our Mother’s Home Caregiver

Our Guardian Angel,

From our entire family, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. While we understand that to you, our mother was just one of the many patients you cared for over a few weeks, and you were just “doing your job.” To her, that care is what she looked forward to all day. For us, her family, your in-home care is what gave us comfort and peace knowing she had what we could not offer her, in the comfort of her own home.

You see, she was the strongest woman any of us knew. She cared for all of us, selflessly, our entire lives. She gave us life and raised us the best way she knew how. She gave us her all and never asked for anything in return. She prepared us to take on the world, and oh did we! The one thing she did not prepare us for was a world without her.

When she had her stroke last year, and it rendered her half paralyzed and suddenly mute, we did not know what to do. She spent a long time in the hospital, and we weren’t sure she would make it out. I’m sure one of us could have learned how to take care of a stroke patient, but this was not a stroke patient to us, this was our mother. She could not move or laugh, she could not offer her advice or her comforting embrace. She couldn’t tell us how to fix it or assure us that everything would be okay. Her, once relentlessly strong, will was broken, as were our hearts.

When the home health agency assigned you to her case, we were nervous. Nervous that a stranger would be coming to do what we should be doing; would you be gentle and caring or would you rush through your duties and refer to her as “the stroke on 87th Street”? We will never understand how you do what you do. Coming into a stranger’s home and caring for them better than if you were her own daughter, better than her own daughters do. You came to her for only a few hours a week, but in that time, you bathed her and tended to the tubes protruding from her body, things I could not bring myself to do.

To you, her in-home caregiver, she may have been just another patient, but to us, she was our caregiver. Thank you for the patience you showed and the comfort you provided to us all. We can never thank you enough for making the end easier for us all. We understand that with her passing, you will fill your timeslots with someone else’s mother now. Thank you for the time you spent with our family. You truly are an Angel on-call.

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