How many times have we said that getting old sucks, but it is better than the alternative? We all think that somehow we will escape the ravages of time and the consequences of our day-to-day lives on our minds and bodies. But it gets us all.
I have the best in-laws in the world. They opened their arms and then their hearts to me and are incredibly supportive and loving parents and grandparents. Both were active, social people. Mum-in-law is Australian, she and dad-in-law fell in love while he was stationed there during WWII. Dad-in-law worked for the state department and moved the young family from Virginia to London to Virginia to Rio to Virginia to Mexico City to Toronto…all with regular summer vacations on the coast of Maine. They all played golf and were active and healthy and strong.
Fast forward a few years and they are older and are having to deal with issues they had hoped never to face in their younger days. Illness and just plain ol’ time are taking their toll. They were so smart…both of them have kept meticulous records over the years and have kept up with their estate planning. They moved into a good elder community, living in an independent apartment in the assisted living complex, to ensure access to care “when the time comes.” They have insurance and resources.
In all the discussions we have had over the years, what I failed to factor in is the personal element. I hadn’t realized how sad I would feel, how helpless and how conflicted I am…I live hours away from them at a time when they could most use my help and my company. I go on with my life, acting in a play, working, cooking…just doing “my” thing…what kind of person am I? I like to think I am empathetic and caring and loving to all those about whom I care a lot, but when push comes to shove…? So much to think about.
The title of this post references sandwich filling. I am so lucky. I am the “sandwich generation” but both pieces of bread around this sandwich filling are soft, warm arms to hug me…can’t complain.
P.S. Thanks for comments from fellow blogger Karen, who has “been there, done that.”