Rest for the weary

Donna Marzigliano and Louis Miranda are getting a much-needed vacation. Sure, all vacations seem much needed, but for these Sacramento residents and other caregivers, an upcoming weekend away is truly a rare break from their difficult everyday lives.

The Del Oro Caregiver Resource Center (CRC) is sending them on an all-expenses-paid retreat at the Claremont Resort and Spa. For three full days, they can just relax and not have to worry about taking care of their sick loved one. Three days doesn’t sound like a long time, but it is when you’ve been taking care of your sick mother 24 hours a day for the past seven years.

“It’s like I’ve died and gone to heaven,” said Marzigliano, a 41-year-old mother of two who quit her job to take care of her mother when she developed Alzheimer’s seven years ago. “It’s going to save my life.”

Marzigliano sleeps on a mattress in her living room next to her mother’s futon. She says that she can’t wait to sleep on a real bed again.

“We have to get a break,” she said. “No one can continue on like this without a retreat. It’s so important to get funding for a project like this, because there’s so many of us out there, and so many that can’t afford to have someone come in to help them.”

Louis Miranda has taken care of his wife since she had a stroke seven years ago and the left side of her body became paralyzed. They have been married for almost 60 years and he honors his commitment to her, even though he deals with frustration on an hourly basis.

“I made a vow for better or for worse. If it had been me, she would have been there for me too,” said Miranda, adding, “There are so many caregivers out there who need help just as much as the patients.”

The CRC relieves him every Saturday for four hours free of charge, and they will send someone to watch his wife while he is gone.

If a protest is scheduled and no one comes, does it still make a sound? The answer, it turns out, is yes. But it’s the sound of a protest organizer who’s wondering where his buddies are.

When the Jewish Defense League decided to protest the speech of Holocaust denier Harvey Taylor before the Northern California Council of Conservative Citizens last week, it figured on getting a large turnout. After all, the two groups squared off the month before when Taylor was scheduled to speak but didn’t show.

This time he did, but the protesters didn’t, leaving the organizer, Sean South, to single-handedly entertain two local camera crews and writers from the Sacramento Bee and SN&R.