So... this metaquotes post
. I have feelings.
I have worked in nursing homes and had experience with hospice since I was fourteen, and I think -- I think the OP's point is something that I have noticed all the time, which is that people get tired
sometimes and run out of emotional resources. All the time I have told folks about respite care by explaining that while it's great
that they are taking care of their loved ones, and that it's a beautiful measure of their love, almost everybody gets worn out sometimes, and when that happens, it's okay to take a break. Respite care, for example, is provided by some hospices as the opportunity to let the hospice take over the patient care for a week or a month before you resume it, and it can be such
a big deal for patients in helping them avoid resentment or having nervous breakdowns themselves. The same is true of putting folks in nursing homes. Sometimes the emotional burden is just too much, not to mention the degree of specialised care, and that is o. kay.
I have had friends who left me because they couldn't deal with my mental illnesses. I understand why they did, because as incredibly difficult as it was for me, I believe it was pretty hard for them, too, watching me suffer and feeling helpless to do anything. I don't think they're bad people. I think some folks are cut out to provide constant emotional care, and some aren't, and the folks who aren't shouldn't be punished and reviled for that fact. Not everybody is an empath. That's just a fact.
My aunt couldn't take care of my grandparents when they got dementia/Alzheimer's. It wasn't that she didn't love them any more, it was that she was so incredibly broken down at feeling that they weren't her parents any more, that their memories of being her parents were gone. For my mother, she was devastated, but she was still able to care for them. It's really an individual emotional makeup thing, and you can't force yourself to be able to cope with terrible situations if you aren't that kind of person. Also, some people need to mature emotionally before they can handle big stuff -- when I was thirteen I refused to visit my dying grandmother or go to her viewing because I was terrified of death and I wasn't capable of dealing with the reality of it. Now, if I could do it over, I would have done those things, because dying people don't frighten me any more, but I don't think my younger self was a bad person. Just somebody who wasn't ready at that time.
At the same time, I do understand the anger at feeling abandoned when you've gotten sick. The friends I talked about before, at the time I was pretty angry with and hurt by; the zenness has come with time and a better understanding of how people's emotional resources work. ALSO, I think it's okay for me to feel angry and to acknowledge their feelings; there's nothing wrong with feelings, as long as you act on them appropriately (as we taught the kids in our kindergarten conflict management classes last year!); I can feel abandoned and understand why it happened at the same time.
Anyway, I'm posting this here because the comments to that post are kind of a clusterfuck and there's a fair amount of blame being thrown around, but. Everybody suffers, and they deal with it in different ways. You have to expect that.
The dying process is often much more difficult and complicated than the actual occurrence of death. That's why I want to be a hospice pastor; I want to be able to help families deal with their reactions, as well as to be spiritually available for the folks who are dying.