Taking Care: Loving My Elders   7 comments

I didn’t really think it would turn out this way.  I imagined by this point in my life I’d be spending my time with my own children and caring for my own husband.  Instead, I’m caring for my dad and both sets of my grandparents.  I thought this stage of life would be a few years off, but I suppose that was wishful.   But some days . . . whew, I wish someone was taking care of me.

Currently, I am living with my dad.  It’s a situation that serves us both.  I have time to write and really work on my book, and he has someone to help him transition to the new normal after Mom’s death.  But many days, I find myself less of a companion and more of a caretaker, someone to be sure he’s doing what is best for him to do.  I definitely thought this role was years away.

Today, Dad and I are taking his mom, who is 87, to her doctor.  She says, “I’m fine.”  We know she is not.  She’s so “not fine” that her children and caretaker now keep a notebook of what happens each day so that everyone is kept up on her decline.  I’ve been reading the notebook this morning.  It makes me sad to see my grandmother deteriorate, but honestly, it’s more heartbreaking to me to see my dad, aunt, and uncle struggle through this decision.

Next week, my uncle, Mom’s brother, will be with my other grandparents in an effort to determine what their best course of action is.  As long as they are together, they’re okay – not great, but okay – but if one of them dies, which is, sadly, likely at this point in their lives, the other can’t live alone.  I’m sure my uncle will be talking with me about these things soon.

I love my grandparents, and I love my dad.  But today, to be honest, I miss my mom.  I miss talking to her about these things and having her steady voice calm me, but I also miss her because, in so many ways, I am playing her role.

I imagine many of us will be in this role soon.  One of my friends told me we’re called the “sandwich” generation – caring for children and our parents (and sometimes grandparents) at the same time.  I am fortunate in many ways that I do not have children (Yet?); this time would be much more complicated if that was the case.  So in this, I am blessed.  I am tired, but I am blessed.

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7 responses to “Taking Care: Loving My Elders

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  1. Great post and you have shown that taking care of the older folks in your family is not just a fillial and noble thing to do but also you get the chance to spend as much time you can with them. I too have a maternal granny in her late 70’s and I aim to spend much time as I can with her, near and far.

    • I hope you have some amazing days with your granny, and how wonderful that you really want to spend time with her. I know she is grateful for that.

  2. I’ve been at one stage or another of care taking for the past 20 years, and it’s not over yet. It can definitely test your emotional fortitude. Aging is a natural part of life, but the declines that come with it can be heartbreaking.

    You’re in my thoughts.

  3. Andi, thanks for your profound honesty. I can relate. Both sets of my grandparents and both my folks have passed. I’m praying for you…

    • Tor, thank you for your kind words and your prayers. I do feel blessed to still have my dad and my grandparents. There is great joy in that.

  4. Thank you for your honesty and know you are not alone. I am also in the role of caretaker to my parents. To watch them decline is very difficult.

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