Sometimes I Feel Like a Piece of Bologna

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

The mother of one of my friends just passed away following a week in the hospital and several years of rotating in and out of the hospital with a variety of ailments. The 97-year-old mother of another friend went into the hospital with infected bedsores. She was expected to die, but she rallied and is back in her assisted living facility. Their experiences reminded me of the days my step-dad was in the hospital, and in fact, the years he was in the nursing home with occasional excursions to the hospital. And to a lesser extent, it reminds me of my relationship with Mom. Perhaps it’s something you experience as you care for your aging parent.

I liken this to waiting for the other shoe to drop. When we’re caring for our kids, they can do crazy things and even get hurt, but our mental attitude is that everything will be OK. A broken bone, a cut, even an illness. With kids, we assume recovery and life, and we’re usually right.

With our parents, however, we know that time and the odds are not on our side. They’re on the downside of life. We know things will only get worse. We just don’t know when or how.

My mom makes bad decisions every day. I'm always waiting to see which one will result in a catastrophe. I know it’s coming. I just don’t know when or how…

I also know that as executor of her estate, I have a huge job in my future. I don’t know when. I don’t know the circumstances. All I know is that at some point, my life will go on hold as a clean out the house and deal with the details. I just don’t know when or how…

I realized as I supported these friends that this unknown expectation affects my ability to plan my own life and business. I realized that I hold back, never knowing what lies ahead. Never knowing what I can actually plan for. Yes, it’s realistic but it’s also a distraction. It keeps me less effective than I might otherwise be. That has to change. Can it?

What do you do to keep your life moving forward, even while knowing that the other shoe will drop?

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4 comment(s):

You are spot on with the waiting for the other shoe to drop theory. I feel that way too. I just try to get beyond that thought pattern and absorb the time I have with Mom!

By Anonymous Paula @ Simply Sandwich, at 8:17 PM  

Stop worrying about what is going to happen. Enjoy her now all you can. My mom is at the end and I look back at all I should of or more I could of done. You still have the chance at it. The day is coming but try not to think about it now. Jump in have as much fun with her as you can.

By Blogger karen, at 1:13 PM  

If I've learned anything in ten years of active eldercare, it's that there are WAY more than two shoes!!! :)

I have not been adept at keeping my own life moving forward. It essentially came to a grinding halt many years ago. Now that my mom has died, we only have one remaining parent. She's already lived in facilities for seven years, and has end-stage dementia.

I am feeling less pressure now, but don't know how to get my own life back on track. Can't remember how this part of the song goes.....

By Anonymous Katy McKenna, at 4:21 AM  

I felt the same way after my son left for college. I had homeschooled him -- another life-consuming vocation -- and after he left, I was lost. Stayed involved with him, his friends, and his college. Then he graduated and got married, and it still took about four years to get my own life back on track. Hang in there, Katy. You caregiving days aren't over, but you can begin to look ahead and decide what you want your second half to be like.

By Blogger Pat, at 7:58 AM  

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