The Caregiver

“I wonder what they’re thinking…. I said ‘ but they don’t know the story. They don’t know the story.’”

The touch of Carolyn Robinson’s hand is one of a gentle caregiver. She has cared for my family for over 20 years and has given up much of her time, her family, her house, and her life to serve my ailing grandparents. She is calm, yet forceful. She’s intuitive and smart. In my grandfather’s final days, she sat with him and held his hands.

Aware of his many flaws, Carolyn never judged him, even though she knew the hurt and pain he caused for most of those in his past. In her care for my grandmother, she learned about his shameful past—his alcoholism, his adultery, and his most ultimate mistakes as a husband and father. When my grandmother died, Carolyn transitioned simultaneously into caring solely for him, and in knowing what she did, she still treated him with the utmost respect and love. She always saw him for who he was instead of who he used to be.

Her world as she knew it for twenty years would end with his death, forcing her to relearn and re-enter life. As she stands in the empty yard of my grandfather’s house—a house she now lives in—she stares off into her new chapter, while holding on to the memory of her friend and to her love of being a caregiver.