I was covering a story on single elderly people and them not having an emergency contact, and it made me sad. I honestly never thought about the idea because when your parents are younger and healthier, they’re your emergency contacts. As your parents age, they can’t be counted on the same way as they used to. Same with grandparents. But I couldn’t imagine not taking care of people who dedicated a solid 18 years to taking care of me. I can still count on my parents. I could always count on my grandfather when I really needed him. So I was the first person to volunteer to be his caregiver. I drove several hours during a particularly snowy winter day because my great great aunt told me she was “lonely.” There is something that triggers in your brain to take care of people who you know would go to the ends of the Earth to take care of you. But with that said, I can count off a few relatives who I definitely did not hang out with as they aged nor go to their funerals. I don’t feel obligated to take care of every single family member because we’re blood related. But it’s not even a second thought to take care of the family members who built me into the person I am today and who genuinely make me happy to be around.

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Check out her five Medium publications: Doggone World, Homegrown, I Do See Color, Tickled and We Need to Talk. Visit Shamontiel.com to read about her.

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