Stuart Watson’s Next Podcast Feature Ramona Hollaway!  Here’s a Sneak Peek …

Ramona HollowayRamona Holloway lives a lot of her life out loud holding up her half of the “Matt and Ramona Show” on WLNK-FM 107.9 the Link. She’s also primary caregiver to her mom and housemate who is aging with Alzheimer’s. She’s also the adopted aunt to Jeremy. She’s an inspiration to many. It can all get a little overwhelming.

So I’m grateful she spared an hour or two to sit on the front porch of her Belmont home (the town, not the neighborhood) and wave at neighbors walking their dogs and repairing their RV and chat about her life for the podcast.

My big question: how much of her decision to care for her mom in her home is driven by a sense of guilt? I ask because I’m familiar with guilt over NOT caring for my mom and dad, both of whom died of Alzheimer’s.

                “That’s ego,” Ramona set me straight. “Saying you’re bigger than Alzheimers.”

Women find themselves caring for aging parents much more often than men. Women find themselves caring for children. Women find themselves caring for the dog. Women find themselves caring.

Ramona was teaching me that just because we chose to care for our parents at an assisted living center and she cares for her mother at home while she can, it doesn’t mean we didn’t care. Alzheimer’s can be a lot. It can require care and attention that overwhelms the best son, the most caring daughter.

Ramona has learned the hard way that she has to take care of herself first, that she can’t possibly do it all. She has a live-in caregiver to assist her mother in the home. She offers no judgement for daughters who care for parents outside the home, by asking for help.

I’m aware of the old adage to focus on “God first, others second and self last.” Then there’s the reminder, a la the flight attendant safety warning to “put on your own oxygen mask first’ – that we are of no use to others if we do not care for ourselves first.

The commandment to “love your neighbor as yourself” carries with it the implicit assumption that we love ourselves. So it follows that we cannot love our neighbor unless we care for ourselves.

Thanks for the reminder, Ramona. My best to your mom and your nephew. They are blessed to have you in their lives.