Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

care giving

And Now It Begins (A Coming Out Diary)

My brother Reid, the man I am caregiver for, told me the other day that he was gay. I have known it for a long, long time. He tried coming out once before but experienced so much pressure from the family that he decided he was mistaken. It was especially hard for the youngest brother to accept. They were very close. Jerry is a hard core right wing born again Christian. He and I have clashed many, many times over the years. We may be clashing again over this.

Reid sent a message to Jerry this morning telling him. He tried to call but couldn’t get a clear connection. He hasn’t heard one word back. I can tell he is hurting and trying to hide it. That in turns hurts me.

Reid and I don’t always see eye to eye and we were estranged for many years. It took the sudden death of our brother Mike to bring us back together. Mike’s death reconnected Jerry and I but not as closely as it did Reid and I.

In the late 90s I was in a marriage from hell. My therapist told me to get out of the abusive marriage but be careful because my husband might try to kill me if I left him. Having experienced his driving when he was mad at me I can well believe that my life was in danger. I know California law required a therapist to warn someone if they feel that person is in danger from someone they are counseling.

A gay couple moved me across the country into their home until I could get on my feet. If I had stayed in California I would be forever looking over my shoulder. I am alive because of them.

That move to the Midwest gave me the opportunity to be caregiver to my Mom for six years. I tried to help my brother Mike and moved down to North Carolina to be near his daughter and grandchildren. He was supposed to join me. Instead the demons of Vietnam finally destroyed him. I cleaned up his financial mess and cleaned and sold my parent’s house.

I moved Reid out here when I realized how sick he had become. I was shocked when I saw him for the first time in years. He looks 20 years older than me and I’m seven and a half years older than he is. He is in a wheelchair now. We are constantly seeing doctors and therapists and nurses trying desperately to get him some more control over his wasted body. He was in the hospital for a week after collapsing. He is in constant pain. If he is rejected by family and friends he will be in even more pain.

I can cope with giving him sponge baths, cleaning him after he uses the portable commode, cleaning out urinals, picking him up literally when he falls, feeding him, checking his blood sugars, helping him take his insulin, getting him in and out of the car, all that is doable. What is going to be rough is if he is cut off by someone he loves.

I have hugged him and told him I love him and I think he is very brave. I am here to be his caregiver because two gay men rescued me when my life was in danger. I owe it to them to help others and especially those in the LGBT community who have so much hate thrown at them.

Reid says he thinks Jerry is going to blame this all on me. Let him. I’m a caregiver. I can handle anything.


Mom She's A Cat

(I wrote this dairy over at GOS as part of the care giving series.)

Sometimes as a caregiver you have to learn things. Sometimes you have to be the teacher. My Mom was a dog person. She was use to her old dog Ruffles who did the doggy things like coming when called. She had never really had the experience of being a cat owner or to be more accurate being owned by a cat. Then the unexpected happened and she let a little black cat into the house and Pixie took over her life. As a person who owned cats all her adult life I had the task of trying to teach Mom the fine points of cat behavior. One of the most frequently heard sentences during that time was “Mom she’s a cat.”