written by
Andrea Schell

Sandwich Caregiver a term that would define my life roll before 30

Narrative Story 2 min read , September 1, 2021

Whenever introducing myself, especially while writing, I always feel like I need to start with a joke, a song, a weird quote, or a lyric of some sort. I do not think I am anyone special enough to be somewhere where I am introducing myself to a platform of strangers. Truth be told, who I am is not who I used to be, and that is worth sharing.


My name is Sabrina; I did not just become a mom six years ago; I also became a Sandwich Caregiver. I have not heard of a term until recently, but it was started by Dorothy Miller, to describe a caregiver taking care of two generations, their children and parents. A sandwich that does not make much sense is super messy and sticky but somehow comes together and works perfectly! I like to think of myself as an ooey-gooey Honey, Banana, Peanut Butter Sandwich.

I had my oldest son, Thor, in 2015, and when he was a two-and-a-half, we found out that my dad had ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Motor Neuron Disease, a disease with many different names, all of which come with a terminal diagnosis.

I was 27, a mom of a toddler who found out seven months later I was pregnant with my rainbow baby, working part-time. I just found out that the person I looked up to most now had a life expectancy of two to five years. I did not know then that I would not even have two years left with my dad from the moment he was diagnosed, and honestly, after watching him suffer from ALS, I could not imagine watching him like that much longer.

The thought of being there for my dad was a no-brainer. I knew that I would be there every step of the way, even though we lived an hour and a half away. My dad and I were always extremely close, and he was always there for me, so I would have moved mountains to be there for him.

I did not expect the emotional, mental, and physical toll of being a sandwich caregiver. I know that may sound so silly, because why would I? But, taking care of people is just my nature, and I went into caregiving with the mindset of being able to do it all, handle it all, and put the weight of the world on my shoulders.

Spoiler alert, I could not do it all, handle it all, and eventually, my shoulders broke. I am here to share my mistakes, what I wish people understood, what I learned. Most importantly, I want to share what I discovered within myself, what I am still learning, and how life as a caregiver has made me feel stronger than I have ever felt before. Because of that, I am forever grateful that my world came crashing down because rebuilding it has been beautiful.

Sabrina

www.SabrinaJohnsonAdvocate.com

Follow Me on Instagram @SabsJohnsonAdvocate or Facebook @SabrinaJohnsonAdvocate

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