Posted by: Robin | July 24, 2008

Sandwiched

I have been AWOL from this blog for the last month because I have joined many of my baby-boomer peers in experiencing a sudden change in an aging parent’s circumstances that requires stepping up and stepping into their lives as a caretaker. Over the past few years I’ve read so many articles about the growing trend of people who have adult children returning home so they can make ends meet and parents who also move in, and they are ‘sandwiched” in between. Now it looms in front of me, and I’m not sure how I feel.

My mom had a fall, another common enough experience. Unusually it was a shoulder rather than a hip that fractured, but the reason for the fall was that she has non-diabetic complete numbness in her feet. Another fall waiting to happen. All the experts agree she cannot live independently when she gets out of rehab, but she does not need the constant care of a nursing home. So I will move her 300 miles east to live with us until we can explore the alternatives together.

Like many before me I am numb. I have entered a new and alien landscape. My mother’s financial matters are in complete disarray as well. As her POA, one of my new areas of knowledge, I am sifting through four kitchen garbage bags of papers from the past six years. It has been a melancholy and sobering experience to see the downward spiral in her ability to cope with the day-to-day realities. We hear about the people out there preying on the elderly, but I had no idea of the scope, as she agreed to things she didn’t need or understand as the money drained precipitously from her bank account.

I have spent the last three days from morning to night sorting paper and making phone calls and faxing Power of Attorneys to those who need it to allow me to conduct her business. Next week my husband, son and I go west again so we can move her furniture out of her apartment. In another two to three weeks we’ll pick her up, and then we begin a new journey together.

But one thing has become clearer and clearer in these past weeks: that my choices are my own. No person or circumstance is forcing this on me. It is what I need to do and want to do for love’s sake. My family is supporting my decision for the same reason. I live and will live in a house full of people who love each other. How many people can say that? And so I move forward to meet what is coming. Some days it will be an enormous strain for all of us in ways I can’t yet imagine, but I also believe it is a matter of grace in ways I cannot yet imagine. I’ll probably write about it from time to time. Until then  . . .

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Responses

  1. Very honest and poignant, Mom.


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