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    A Story of Love & Resilience


    Naima's Story


    In the heart of the bustling city, I found myself in an unexpected role, a caregiver to my mother. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and I stepped into the role not because I was trained or prepared, but because I loved her. It was a journey that would ultimately reshape my understanding of caregiving and highlight the stark need for practical resources and training. The news of my mother's diagnosis hit like a freight train. The world seemed to stop spinning for a moment. But there was no time to dwell on the shock. My mother needed me, so, I stepped up, ready to fight alongside her.

    The first few days were a whirlwind of hospital visits, medication schedules, and trying to maintain a semblance of normalcy. But the reality was far from normal. There was a constant undercurrent of fear, a silent specter that hovered over us. We were fighting a battle, one that required more than just physical strength. Communication became one of the most challenging aspects of my caregiving journey. I was desperate for my mother to fight, to win against this monstrous disease. But there were days when she said, "I can't." Those words felt like a punch to the gut. I would respond, often out of frustration and fear, "Yes, you can!" But I soon realized that my insistence was more about my own needs, and my fears of losing her. It was a harsh lesson, one that underscored the importance of understanding the emotional turmoil that the person you're caring for is going through.

    I wish I had someone who could guide me, someone well-versed in end-of-life care. I needed someone who could help me navigate this complex web of emotions, to help me understand how to support my mother while also dealing with my feelings. Privacy was another issue we grappled with. My mother was a private person, and she didn't want her condition to be widely known. This meant that I had to shoulder the burden alone, with only a few family members aware of the situation. It was isolating, to say the least. It made me realize the importance of having a support system, a network of people who understand what you're going through.

    Looking back, I wish there were resources readily available to help caregivers deal with these challenges. Training programs could guide how to communicate effectively, how to handle the emotional toll, and how to respect the privacy of the person you're caring for. My journey as a caregiver was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. But it was also a journey of love, resilience, and growth. It opened my eyes to the harsh realities that caregivers face and the stark lack of practical training and resources. It's a gap that needs to be filled, a need that cannot be ignored. Today, I share my story not for sympathy, but for awareness. To highlight the need for practical training and resources for caregivers. To underscore the importance of understanding, empathy, and support in the caregiving journey. And to remind everyone that caregivers are not just helpers; they are warriors fighting alongside their loved ones, often armed with nothing more than love and determination.

    In the end, my mother lost her battle with cancer. But her spirit, her strength, and her love live on. And so does my resolve to advocate for better support for caregivers. Because no one should have to navigate the caregiving journey alone.

    Naima Obaitori