21st Annual Caregiver Story Contest Grand Prize Winner – Roldan T.

04/16/24  3:19 PM PST
21st annual caregiver contest win $1000

Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner Roldan T. from California.

I would like to share my Caregiving journey. Actually, allow me to include my wife in the story. She and I worked hand in hand, to survive the test of time in this up and down journey, we called “beautiful sacrifice”.

In 2009, when we entered the United States. With limited English and with a few dollars, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We left our three (3) kids from our home country, bringing with us a hope and dream to give them a good life. We juggled 3 or 4 jobs in a day. Until, in 2011, we got hired at a Residential Care Facility for Elderly (RCFE) in Escondido. And so, our caregiving journey has begun. It didn’t take long for us to like the job, because honestly, for us it’s like taking care of one of our family members, could be our grandpa, grandma, mom and dad or uncles and aunties. With that guiding principle in heart, loving the people we take care of is a reward on its own. Because we get to receive the love that we give to them in return. Their appreciation, their warm smile, it’s the best job in the world.

But I can tell you this much though, the job is not for everybody. To put it in a different perspective, a caregiving job is not just a “job”. It’s not like flipping burgers or packing orders or some sort. For me, the way I see it, it’s either you are meant to be or not. Nothing in between. Is being a caregiver hard? Yes, it is. Allow me to explain why. Have you taken care of a loved one or someone with Alzheimer’s disease or Dementia, or someone suffering from Rectal Prolapse, or someone that had a stroke, or a Quadriplegic, or someone with a bowel or bladder problem (just to name a few). We could feel their pain and suffering, but we try to absorb that with our own little ways to make them feel they’re not alone and they have all the support they need to
get through it.

Although some are light cases, like people who need companionship, or they just need help with activities of
daily living. Ultimately, if we think about it, we’re all going to end up old and needing some help, or in some cases total care. How do we want to be treated if we’re the one in their shoes? That’s the question, isn’t it. It’s how we treat them that makes all the difference in this world to them. We treat them with utmost respect, we clean them like we clean our own body, we absorb their depression and turn them into laughter and magical smiles, we are their feet and hands and sometimes we are their voices. And doing all of these while we’re dealing with our own miseries. Is it worth it? Absolutely! We become their family, with whom they can share their stories, their pain and laughter. We become part of them, and it’s a beauty of its own. Caregiving is its own reward in many different ways. When they appreciate what we do, we get to feel that kind of very rewarding feeling that we can’t explain. And inevitably, we mourn when they die, like our own family has died. We help them, we love them, and we cry when they go. It’s part of it, but they leave with a smile inside their hearts because they were loved until their last moment here on earth to join the angels in heaven above. And that’s when we know we did our job. My wife was once called an angel on earth, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Speaking of her, allow me to take you back many years ago. I think some sort of miracle/s had happened. My mother was very sick, and was in the hospital for a long time, until we had to pull the plug. She whispered, “Bring me home, that’s where I want to die”. All we could do was pray while trying to reach home. And she made it home, which was miracle number one.

Then suddenly, out of some kind of instinct, she asked me to carry her to the bathroom, she asked us to give her a bath, and we did. When we brought her back to her bed, my mother took one big breath and she looked different. She smiled and said I feel a little better. She had a good sleep that night. And much to our surprise, that very morning, we saw her sitting up on the couch. She was smiling and asked me to come to her and give her a hug. She lived 1 more year after that, and that was special. Now, thinking about it, I think we’re destined to be caregivers. It was that moment when she died, there’s that kind of fulfilled feeling that we did our best in taking care of her.

Now, we are on our way to running our own home care facility. Thank you for reading our story.

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