Among the many ways I count myself fortunate, the fact that I've never been faced with the responsibility of caring for an aged or debilitated parent is near the top of the list. And though I've publicly lamented losing both my parents too soon, I'm not at all sure I'd have had what it takes to meet that responsibility.
I have friends in my life who have done that and others who have done the arguably more demanding task of caring for a disabled child. In response to my limp admiration of their sacrifices, my friends have often said something like "...you do what you have to do..." Do you think you could "...do what you have to do... " if you were in these situations? "Do what you have to" makes it sound easy; it so obviously is not easy.
Raising just one non-disabled child was sometimes beyond me and she was not a difficult child and there were two of us raising her. When I recently suggested an afternoon outing to a good friend, his demurral was based on his devotion to his aged mother. Ever since, I've been unable to escape my own selfishness for more than a few hours. I've done good things for others in my life but today I don't feel I'm made of the same raw materials as this friend.