Feb
09

When Your Virtue is Also Your Vice

By

Creative living comes in many forms and may morph across the ages of time or our lifetime.

My mother was one of the nicest people we knew as kids. She was the parent all my school friends wanted as class chaperone on outings because she was fun and she didn’t always raise her voice, nag and yell like most other parents.

She was also someone who didn’t use her voice to speak up for what SHE wanted in life, and when she felt SHE was being railroaded by life’s circumstances. Granted, this was during the shift from the stilted, authoritarian 1950’s to the so-called liberated ‘sex, drugs & rock ‘n roll’ 1960’s, and nobody really knew how to behave.

Ironically, perhaps, she is finally attempting to exercise her ‘voice’ in her old age where, even as a sufferer of Parkinson’s Disease and frequent falling, she is darned if she’ll be herded into an assisted living facility, despite the companionship and other amenities. In her mind, recalling nursing homes of the past which really often were like dungeons of doom, she is digging in and standing firm in her desire to stay in her own home, come what may. And our modern lifestyles are way too hectic and transient for her to want to come live with us.

We kids want to honor her wishes and let her live out her days in dignity as defined by her, but anyone who has dealt with people who are in harm’s way daily know the anxiety of living on edge with every phone call from that area code. So, we attempt to put in place support systems and stay in touch as we can from a distance, with frequent visits. She is finally using the power of her voice, by choosing to answer, or not, her mobile phone. A mixed blessing!

There’s more to this saga of virtues, vices and modern day caregiving by us, many of whom are in the ‘sandwich’ generation, of caring for our parents while still raising children.  Stay tuned for the rant!

And please add your voice of experience in the comments below.