This was not the way my life plan was supposed to happen. I am sure that everyone says something to that effect but in my case it is absolutely true. Growing up in an upper-middle class family I did all the right things. I went to college “ even graduated summa cum laude. I went to graduate school. Those expensive diplomas have been framed in expensive frames since 1996 and 1998 respectively. I have hung them at one job. They looked nice there… I guess. But besides looking pretty they haven't done me one bit of good.
When I was born I had older parents (well back then they were older). My Mama was 36 when I was born and my Pop was 57. I remember being at a friend's 8 year old party and them saying how sad it was that my dad would die soon (all 6 of their father's are dead now). I remember how people always thought that he was my grandfather. I vividly remember arguing with teachers and professors in grade school, high school, college and grad school, about the Battle of Midway or Hiroshima. When I would tell them that my father fought in WWII they would condescendingly pat me on the head and tell me that I must have meant Vietnam or Korea. Nope, I meant WWII. He joined in1944. That shocked them. Always.
I guess I am what you call in the sandwich generation. The only difference is that I am missing a slice of bread. I never had children because I was so busy taking care of my parents. And dating has always been difficult because it is kind of hard to bring potential date home to meet my 90 year old father (who has straight up told the two long term relationships that I have had that he will be living with me for the rest of his life.”) Sure, finding someone that I like and that Pop likes is going to be easy. HA!
He recently was rushed to the hospital after passing out at a restaurant “ the same hospital in which my Mom died. I listened to a doctor tell me it was time to find a new living arrangement for Pop. I explained Thank you, but really that isn't how we work.
He said Well when you change your mind.
I responded, No, really, that is not for us. It is me and him. Together.” If it kills me.
I know it is going to get harder, I saw the glimpses of that during this last hospitalization. I also know that this isn't how it was supposed to work. He was going to die first, give everything to Mama who WANTED to go live in an assisted living facility and be the friendly BINGO lady, and I would go visit her and miss him terribly. But that is not what happened. She died first. He is not made for a nursing home, often he is not made for restaurants what with the yelling and off-color jokes.
I am just like him.
It's going to be a rough road and it is not always going to be pretty, or politically correct, or even nice but it will always be the truth. I hope that you all enjoy reading and that some of you who are caregivers can relate, and maybe some of you who aren’t can at least understand. Often it doesn’t seem to be that much different than raising a child – except, it’s not a child, it’s your parent.
I am Dorothy and I am a stay at home caregiver to my 90 year old father, my Pop.