I quote. Yes, this was precisely the proud declaration uttered by an outwardly-pleasant aging mother whose crevice-ridden face told the truth of a nasty and miserable inner nature. Even I was stunned by the non-apology.
Picture me striving to enjoy a milestone birthday. You know, for someone empathetic and intuitive, there is really no such thing as a holiday. My journal attached to my hip almost 24/7, my desired non-verbal request for privacy was apparently not a deterrent to folks bringing their woes while striving to enjoy a productive adult beverage!
Don’t Think This Could Be You?
Sure, Mom was ‘treating’ her two beleaguered daughters to the travels. Let us be clear about the terms and conditions of paying their way, though. The price was heavy. Practically no time for themselves. At her beck and call. Constantly stressed. How restored do you think they were by the trip’s end? Try depleted. All I know is how profoundly I was struck by the aging population of North America (never mind globally). We are in a CRISIS, people.
Prepare For This Being You!
Up sidles Daughter #1 to the bar. It turns out she is not the primary caregiver but instead handles Mom’s banking. It’s really when I meet Daughter #2 that I learn the fuller state of their affairs. Yup, this one closer to my age is what I constantly call The Responsible One. Those with siblings, admit it. You relate! If you’re reading this, you’re probably the one Mom and/or Dad always turned to (and still does) to stick handle the delicate family drama and trauma.
When It Happens, What Will You Do?
Fast forward to a conversation this week. Suffice it to say, this lady has been there, done it and gotten more T-shirts than she cares to count. If she could speak into this blog, she would let you know. Before entering the eldercare marathon, she wondered what all the ‘fuss’ was about. Now she deeply understands how ill-prepared she was for the NIGHTMARE of attending her mother and other aging relatives. Sadly, she represents the growing norm.
Why These Themes Now?
Even though not everyone has what I call an Un-cope-able Parent like this traveling mother (thank goodness), let me leave you with some reflections:
- Even if your folks are perfectly healthy right now, do you actually believe this will be the case forever? Think again.
- In fact, if they have always been pleasant and cooperative, I worry for you. Unlike those who grew up with crotchety parents, you especially will be shocked when they turn.
- Only The Conscious Caregiver has the foresight – and courage – to take matters into your hands NOW before it is too late. Please check out my weekly radio show at boldbravemedia.com/shows/the-conscious-caregiver and catch up on the archives.
With Valentine’s Day approaching, stay tuned for extra ideas on how to navigate the occasion while staying true to you.