Those of you who have not experienced being a caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer's might think empathy would be a constant; a naturally and frequently occurring mindset. But it's not. You are often so tired, frustrated, angry, guilt-ridden, and overwhelmed that empathy for your loved one can't find its way in. And also, a person with Alzheimer's isn't behaving like, say, someone going through chemo. Not by a long shot! They may reject you, be mean and spiteful, hit you, and develop unpleasant habits that will stretch you to the point where you don't know how in the world you can possibly do it another day. And there will be so many more days to come.
Throughout mom's illness my sister Amy was my hero for many reasons, but primarily because through it all she had so much empathy for Molly and what she was going through, no matter what the circumstances. It was a beautiful thing so see, and it changed me.