mural art in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bushwick is one of NYCs major street art hubs, with an outdoor art gallery known as the Bushwick Collective

I’ve always felt like an outsider.

Growing up in the suburbs I always stuck out. I didn’t fit in. I didn’t belong there. My parents always described me as the black sheep. When I was little, they tried to get me to play nice, wear dresses, do the things little girls are supposed to do. To their credit, they gave up pretty early on. They’ve always been as accepting as they’re capable of being. In high school when my friends were fighting with their parents, I was always close with mine.

There was no surprise when I announced I was moving to Brooklyn. I didn’t spend a lot of time talking about leaving the suburban conformity for the city, but I think we all assumed it was going to happen. It felt inevitable.

They insisted in helping me move up. They took me shopping for all the stuff I’d need for my first (room in an) apartment. When they come up to visit they don’t bat an eye at how weird my friends are. I’d finally found my place and they didn’t understand it, but they saw how happy I was.

When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t really know what that meant. People talk about “cancer” as if it’s one thing. It’s really not. There are hundreds of types of cancers and it seems like some of them have nothing in common.

His type of Lymphoma isn’t necessarily terminal, but it’s serious.

I want to be there for him while he’s going through treatment, but that means going home to the suburban life I hated. Leaving my weird job, my weird friends, and my life behind.

I feel like I have to choose between my family or myself.

T. Pierce

Featured image: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock.com

Written by Guest Author
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34 Comments

  1. Yes. Now, I am a very resentful person, who is very short & angry at the drop of a hat.

    Reply
  2. Yes and No. I look at it as God’s plan. I care for my father who’s now 65 years old. He was 44 when he had a massive stroke. Looking back I have so many regrets when it comes to raising my kids. My oldest was only was 5 at the time, and there so many gaps in memory of his childhood. He was and still is such a tremendous blessing. My dads non verbal and paralyzed on one side. I just ask for strength. I get tired and frustrated and have to remind myself that I am human. It’s been almost 21 years now and he’s still pushing. I love him so much. This is my life… 🙂

    Reply
  3. 95%, no regrets, my brother and my one true friend are still there for me. The rest, they don’t count any longer.

    Reply
  4. I quit my job and take care of my mom

    Reply
  5. When my Dad asked me to move in to take care of him and Mom (who both had terminal illnesses) because he couldn’t see a way to pay for a nursing home or home nurses, I didn’t hesitate. It was hard. I used up all of my savings and retirement because I couldn’t work. I maxed out credit cards. My two young kids had to give up a lot, too. But, they never complained. They knew Grandma and Grandpa needed our help. Grandpa and Grandma have passed now, but we have so many wonderful memories. It’s a little scary starting over now. I’m middle aged and have to get back into the workforce after an 8 year hiatus. If I could handle being a caregiver for the last several years, I’m sure I can succeed at anything.

    Reply
  6. To look after my mother who had either dementia or Alzheimer’s and raise my daughter 24/7 until 2008 when I turned 50, my daughter graduated high school, and then Mom passed away at the age of 88, all in the space of one month.

    Reply
  7. Yes, put my life on hold and we moved in with myother in law. Miss time with my son and his family. I also miss my family, friends and just going places esp church

    Reply
  8. I never got a chance to build the life I wanted. I started caring for my mom when I was 12 and then my dad developed dementia when I was 20

    Reply
  9. No , it just added to my life! I never regret being there for my mom. It wasn’t easy at times but I am thankful for her and the time I got to spend with her. You’ll never have that again . I miss her sooo much . She passed on thanksgiving day and was buried Thursday the 30th of November. It happened so fast too fast and I want her back.

    Reply
  10. More like being swept away from it down a rabbit hole of craziness and unpredictability.

    Reply
  11. Yes, put my life on hold to be a full time caregiver to my son. Not a easy job no breaks but when his own father can’t help at all because he never accepted his genetic illness I’ll care for him as long as I can. Freidrachs Ataxia is leaving his body weak, 22 years in a wheelchair and never complained. God I need his strength somedays.

    Reply
  12. Yes. Walked away from a business I built for 19 years and three part time jobs. I loved them all but love my son more.

    Reply
  13. Don’t ask us. You’re the one that has to make the choice. Just make sure whatever choice it is, don’t regret it later on.

    Reply
  14. I didn’t want to move back home to the same ol’ area I grew up in. But I had to suck it up and do what I have to do.

    Reply
  15. I did once for my father. I will never regret it. And now for my husband of 25 years. For me, I am doing the work I was sent to this earth to do. God is in this. I know it.

    Reply
  16. Yes I did also. Blessings to you all I’m sure someday we will need someone and may God bless us all with the right caring person to do for us. Its not wrong but it does seem unfair in our life. Human nature?! God bless

    Reply
    • I left my career. I wAs broke when dad passed and I’m now 58!trying to re enter the work force.

      I was blinded by wanting to do the right thing which was devastatingly wrong for me.

      Reply
  17. I walked away from everything to take care of family. In my personal case, it was that my ex-husband and I had adopted special needs siblings from foster care and discovered our parenting styles were so different staying together would have been tragic for the children…

    Reply
  18. YES, I did. Moved back home to help dad take care of mom 10yrs ago she has since passed now here taking care of dad. It’s been a long journey of caregiver. Some days I miss the life I once I had.

    Reply
    • Same story here. It will be 10 years in February. Mom passed in 2010. <3 to you.

      Reply
  19. Reading as I sit in hospital with my husband of 49 years who has a rare disease. Hardest job of my life!

    Reply
  20. I feel the same way I’ve been taking care of my husband and yes there is time i ask why

    Reply
  21. After taking care of my brother for 4 years some words that often come out of my mouth when I am most frustrated are “I want to go home!” and I live right downstairs. Just saying being a caretaker can be pretty “foreign” no matter where you live.

    Reply

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