I've struggled in the past when someone I love and for who I am a caretaker for says some variation of: "I don't want to be a burden", with a strong feeling of guilt for what they 'are putting me through'.
I have a hard time with what to say in these situations. I have always assured them that they are not a burden. However, I think both they and I know that providing care does take work, resources, and time, so that has always felt in-authentic and weak.
Today, as I was getting my breakfast, I realized that what I am really saying when I tell them they are not a burden, is that my life would be poorer without them.
Since we can't wave a magic wand and heal them, my choices range between seeing them struggle without my help, or having them in my life with the extra work inovolved.
I choose them and the labor that comes with them. The time, work, and resources that I share to support them is a gift I can give not a burden that I want to unload.
Yes, there will be times when I wish the person was well for both our sakes. Yes, there will be times when I am tired and frustrated, but that is because I come with my own limitations. Yes both of us will feel guilt, both over what we can do and what we cannot.
But the next time someone says: "I don't want to be a burden" I feel like I have a better answer.
My life would be poorer without you. Lay down the burden of guilt you are carrying. I choose you.