Karen Gurney of Tempe, Ariz., spent years as her mother’s live-in caretaker. Her mom had diabetes and peripheral artery disease, and in 2004, her right leg had to be amputated above the knee. She required constant care, and Karen noted the task was both physically and emotionally exhausting. Then her brother suffered a stroke and also needed care, and Karen was doing double duty which made her feel crushed and overwhelmed. When her mother and brother died within a relatively short period of time from each other, though, Karen didn’t feel a huge sense of relief. She felt an emptiness that could only be filled by helping to care for others. What had started as an obligation had become, among other things, a kind of a calling.

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