19-Year-Old Girl Picks up Three Jobs to Care For Her Father with a Critical Illness
An Australian family was brought to their knees when their husband and father became someone unrecognizable. No matter what, his teenage daughter stood by his side, going to unbelievable lengths to show how much she cares.
Hannah Head was only 17 years old when her father Terry was diagnosed with a brain-damaging illness called Viral Encephalitis. It is debilitating and can lead to manic depression, personality disorders, and epilepsy.
Already traumatized by her dad's diagnosis, the now-19-year-old was not ready for what was to come. Head had to work three jobs at such a young age to support Terry with his critical condition.
The teenager did so when she began studying full-time in Canberra to have the transport costs to travel back home and look after her father. Recalling the experience, she expressed:
"I had to do a 14-hour round trip between the two cities to look after my dad, give my mom a little respite, and just be with my family."
This year, she experienced significant relief. The 19-year-old was given a bursary payment from national peak bodyCarers Australia, which assisted her with transport costs.
Although great news, this doesn't negate the desperate feeling of caring for a father with such a debilitating disease. Head recalled the time when her family had to ensure that Terry didn't harm himself, as he intended to commit suicide.
After his wife passed, he turned to his religion, asking that he be taken as well.
The university student remembers how his personality drastically changed, expressing that he began to behave like a child. The teenager implied that she grieves over the dad she once knew.
This feeling is not uncommon; 46-year-old Jean-Louis, who cares for her 78-year-old mother, Vera Johnson, who has Alzheimer's, also expressed how much she wishes for the mother she once knew to return. She stated:
“In so many ways, you want things to go back to normal, but you realize that that’s not going to happen.”
Emily Jenkins, whose Alzheimer-stricken father has been part of her life from a young age, expressed a similar sentiment. Jenkins' mother, she said, tells her stories about who he was before, and she can't understand, as she never experienced it.
Emily Jenkins’ situation is unique: Only 5% of Alzheimer’s caregivers are part of Generation Z, the nickname for those born after 1995. https://t.co/5uTaRNKC1n— Cronkite News (@cronkitenews) December 14, 2019
Strangely enough, when it comes to sickness, one's personality may deteriorate while alive, but their spirit could carry on from the grave. This is exactly what happened to Bailey Sellers when she began receiving flowers from her late father.
Sellers' dad died from pancreatic cancer when she was just 16 years old. Since then, she has been receiving floral gifts from him for her birthday every year.
Her dad paid for these in advance so that she would be reminded of how much he loved her. Sellers expressed that the flowers exude his presence as though he were actually there.
My dad passed away when I was 16 from cancer and before he died he pre payed flowers so i could receive them every year on my birthday. Well this is my 21st birthday flowers and the last. Miss you so much daddy. 💜 pic.twitter.com/vSafKyB2uO— Bailey Sellers (@SellersBailey) November 24, 2017
Although tragic, Sellers' father managed to find beauty in his passing, providing comfort to those he left behind. A couple who died hours apart after being married for more than 70 years echoes this, blending grief with somber artistry.
94-year-old James "Jim" Wold passed away just 15 hours after his beloved wife, 96-year-old grandmother Wanda Wold. Jim died in the late evening following a visit from his two daughters.
After his wife passed, he turned to his religion, asking that he be taken as well. If anything can be learned from these stories, it's that love from close ones can make illness and death slightly more bearable.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.
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