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The courage to love

BY JON GARINN
PUBLISHED FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2011
In response to my introductory blog post about caring for my father after his cancer diagnosis, I heard from a man who told me about his caring for his mother.

She got sick with cancer and, at the same time, suffered a stroke. She was utterly helpless, so the man took her in to live with him. He would dress her and bathe her, take her to the toilet and wipe up after her. And he wept because it was so awful.

All the taboos came up: his mother's nakedness, her shattered dignity, his fearful pride. Here they were, two frightened people slipping and sliding around the bathroom. But despite the revulsion he felt, in spite of the embarrassment, he said it was, finally, the most peaceful experience he had ever had.

He said he had learned to love his mother the way she first loved him: naked and without pretense.

What he did was remarkable. By confronting his fear he found the courage to love. Isn't that what caregiving is all about?

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