This was originally written as a comment on Erin Kotecki Vest’s blog post about being chronically afflicted with lupus. Go read it. I’ll wait. It’s eye-opening.

Oh Erin…my heart aches.

I was the primary caregiver to my mom for the last 3 or 4 years of her life. She had chronic disease upon chronic disease. Some days I didn’t know how she could go on. Or how I could. It’s not fair. I learned THAT particular life lesson pretty well.

But she did go on. We got help. For instance, Mom going on antidepressants was one of the single best things that ever happened to my family. “Of course she’s depressed!” said the attending hospital doc. “She’s been very sick for a very long time.” Those pills allowed me and my kids to interact with Mom, not with her pain and suffering. She finally accepted the (pharmacological) help she never allowed herself when I was growing up. I think I would have been a very different person if she had. But that’s a whole different blog post!

On this journey, you find happiness and peace where you can. In the little things. Stopping at Mom’s favorite restaurants after doctors’ appointments. After the really tough ones, we ordered margaritas. It became Mom’s signature drink.

To life!

Erin, I admire your strength. Your courage. Your tenacity. Some days, it might not feel like enough. But it is.

We’re all just struggling along through this life the best we can. And I’ve found that life is INFINITELY better—for everyone involved—with the blessing of help. Don’t be afraid of asking for it. I am a better person for having helped Mom through the last years of her life, and I was infinitely blessed by all those (doctors, nurses, aides, neighbors, friends and family) who helped me help Mom. We’re designed to work together.

All the best to you and yours. You’re in our prayers…chronically. 🙂 And I mean that in the best way possible.


About Kathleen

Kathleen Heuer is a serial arts advocate and volunteer. She is the mom of two beautiful girls, wife to a brilliant nuclear engineer, and referee between her golden retriever and her hissy 18-year-old cat. For more, go to
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One Response to Chronic

  1. queenofspain says:

    It gives me hope that you came to that place with you Mom. I worry about my husband, and how he must shoulder so much taking care of me. I hope we can find more laughs than pain. And more understanding than hurt. Right now everything just feels so impossible. So never ending and difficult. I want those around me to have an easy life. I want them, so badly, to not have to worry about me. It hurts me more than I can explain to see them suffer so much. I would do anything…and I mean ANYTHING to take it away from them. There is nothing we wouldn’t do for those we love. I just wish I could figure out what to do.

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