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I was a long-distance caregiver, too. I lived about 225 miles from my parents and drove up and back every weekend while my dad was sick, and continued doing it after he died, until my mom moved down with me. The BIGGEST thing that I think caregivers and patients alike feel is ISOLATION. Friends and family are uncomfortable in dealing with a terminal illness, so they just stay away. That is hurtful. I would suggest that you call their friends and explain how much it would mean to you (and them) if they would "check in" with your parents, and just sit with them.
My mom was in big-time denial when my dad was sick, thinking that he would get better. All he wanted was for my mom to sit with him and hold his hand. She had a hard time doing that, and it made him feel very bad. Sometimes its the caregiver that needs to have THEIR hand held -- so think about that, too.
Maybe you can arrange to have a local restaurant bring in a nice meal a couple of times a week (charge it on your credit card). Or check out some of the social service agencies, or the medical social worker at their local hospital. They often can point you in the direction of programs that exist for patients and caregivers that provide some relief and/or support.
You can also send along audio or video tapes with messages for them to listen to or watch, cards and letters to let you know you're thinking about them, and of course, phone calls.
Please e-mail me directly if you feel like it. Your situation seems very similar to what mine was.
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