Families have changed so much over the years to the point where the non-traditional family IS the traditional family and is normal (as a relative term). But one thing remains, when the head of the non-traditional family falls ill the family must create a new tradition…a new normal.
Emotionally this can be rewarding and difficult. To care for a loved one that has cared so much for their family can be a gift of repayment. To hold their hand, drive them all over the world, wait excessive hours with them for various doctors, encourage compliance as they once did their family member, and more IS love. For some it’s duty but what a better mental health reframe to see it as giving love.
In the same instance it’s exhausting. The obvious of course is it’s physically tiring but also because loving hard and loving long is exhausting.
I don’t have any amazing words of advice or mental health antidotes from this but I can say acknowledging the duality and parallel process is healing and transformative. Also reframing this idea of duty and physical exhaustion to giving love and being an example of the love that was given.
Feeling tired in positive love for the non-traditional family system is “easier” on the mind and body than feeling exhausted physically.