The Reluctant Caregiver
Following an Increasingly Common Path, for 'Better or Worse'
Muriel Lee had endured a 30-year loveless marriage with a verbally abusive husband and had contemplated divorce when the news came that he was suffering from terminal throat cancer.
"When you are not in a good marriage, you face a moral dilemma about what to do. If your husband is unpleasant, do you leave him or stick it out? I made the choice to stay with my husband," says Lee, who chronicled her five-year experience of caring for her difficult husband in Journeys: The roads traveled by a Reluctant Caregiver and an Ill Spouse (Beaver's Pond Press, 2002).
Lee is not the only one who has been faced with this decision. Few people back out of caregiving for their spouses, sticking to their wedding vows "in sickness and in health." There are several reasons why spouses in poor relationships decide to become caregivers. Many feel a sense of responsibility due to a common history and rearing children together. Others want to spare their children the burden of caregiving. Sometimes the decision is purely a result of financial considerations. And most people find that caregiving is such an intimate relationship that the sick often want someone who has seen them at their worst to be the ones providing the care.(MORE)
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