November is National Caregivers Month: meet my inspiration


A hidden hero is a person that cares for another who is in need of assistance due to poor health or injury. The hidden hero is an unseen champion, seeking the best for their care recipient. They move mountains, if they must, to get the best care possible for their loved one. Jean Sumption is one such champion, and hero, no; actually she is a super hero. She is a hidden superhero, though tell her that and she just might laugh. Like most heroes she doesn’t put that term on herself.

Jean’s husband, a Navy corpsman attached to the Marines, came home from Vietnam in the late 1960’s a changed man. They married while he was on leave. He was called back early from leave because he was needed as the Tet Offensive was getting underway. They had a few days of wedded bliss that would never repeat itself.

This is what I know about Jean and what makes her one of the finest, strongest woman I have ever known. She never gave up on her husband. He battled the unseen injury of posttraumatic stress. She had no one to turn to in those early years who could help her understand what her husband was experiencing. It’s been a long journey from then to now, nearly 48 years, and she is still by his side making sure he is getting the care he needs through the Veterans Hospital Administration, no easy feat in and of itself.

Over the last several years, physical problems because of Agent Orange exposure, have manifested itself in Jean’s husband, a double whammy for her as a caregiver. This many years later, so many decades, and yet she remains a strong and loyal caregiver.

The journey has not been an easy one. Jean gave up what most would call a ‘normal life’ without regret, and without much support from the VA, and all others who would cross her path. She did so out of deep love and commitment to the man she loves and their beautiful daughter.

Caregiver battle scars are not unusual for those who have spent many years in the trenches of caring for someone else. Jean’s health has suffered at times from the demands and stress of being a caregiver for so long. In the hope that she can help other caregivers she shares her personal struggles, and triumphs, in her blog:

Each and every day is a beautiful new day for Jean. She has an indomitable spirit of joy, laughter, and love. She has had her share of sorrow as we all have, yet instead of letting it consume her she has grown because of it. Despite the lack of abundant resources that are available today for caregivers Jean has done more than survive, she is thriving. Her strength and full heart get her through. Jean is resilient beyond measure. Like all true heroes she doesn’t seek attention or accolades so I am here to say meet Jean Sumption, my superhero.

The month November is National Family Caregivers Month