A while back, our son commented that he didn't read my blog anymore because I used to write funny things, but no more. "Where's the funny, Mom?" My answer was that he and his sister flew out of the nest and took my "funny fuel". I was half serious. When they were home or in college, it was therapeutic for me to take their teen-age challenges and peculiarities and turn them into humor. However, life doesn't seem to be that funny these days.
The last few years have seen major changes for us. We purchased a business, both of our children moved to Kansas City (nearer us - woo hoo!), our son got married, our daughter entered grad school . . . and my parents began to decline. In our seven empty-nest years, I have made it a priority to "be there" for my adult children - whether they needed a hand at moving, recovering from surgery, throwing a Halloween party for fifty foster-children, or decorating a new home. I finally have them both within 100 miles, and had plans for frequent visits.
Then, in June my Dad spent a couple weeks in the hospital due to kidney failure. Fortunately, he has returned to his home and to moderately good health. However, the illness and hospital stays advanced his early stages of dementia and he is no longer able to live alone. My two sisters, who both live less than 20 miles from Dad, handled his care for several months, until it became obvious that he was not going to return to totally independent living. Assisted living or nursing home care are still a ways in the future, so we now have a rotating care schedule that has me traveling several days a week.
Mom is slipping, also. A totally different form of memory loss, but just as difficult in it's own way. So far, she is able to continue living alone - just a mile away from Dad - with daily visits and assistance from one of her daughters. My youngest sister has carried most of this load because she is only a few blocks away, but the time is coming when we are all needed to allow her to stay in her home.
"Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you." Exodus 20:12 I feel blessed for the opportunity to honor my parents by caring for them, and try not to look any further down the road. God is in charge of the length and form of this period of honoring. In the mean time, I condense my "other" life - home, husband, work, church, children - into the remaining days and try to squeeze in some time for myself.
The "Sandwich Generation" - pressed between the roles of parent and child. "