Wednesday, September 29, 2010

the times they are a seen by me.

Turmoil and transition Bungalow Style....
Family responsibilities...
and eldercare, bestowed upon by a legal document that was drawn up years a time when thoughts were as far from here as could ever be imagined.

Once upon a time, long ago and far away...Young spirited parents early retired, not "stinking rich" but comfortable, and happy, embarked on many adventures hard earned by years of hard work, toil and sacrifice.
Life was good...there were local spring and summer boating trips and holidays seeking warm winters, snowbirding to a sunny California desert where a home was purchased.
Great grandchildren were were taken, albums moments were sealed in the memory box for all time.
(I seek these out for comfort now)

Time passes and the little grey cottage by the sea becomes home base...the boat tethered to the dock in front, cruises are few and far between...and now beside, another boat is tied...a Classic Chris Craft.

The grey shingles pale and weather, the days grow dim...and the inhabitants grow old and frail...they press on with a stiff upper lip they go through the motions and resist any help or intervention.
Friends start to ask questions...a bit too comfort is shaken, my eyes open wide.
I do not do worry well, so I take action when the family is stuck.
I am not a blood relation...I married their son.
I go in and take charge, I hire, I fire and I get flack.
(I will live with this guilt but it doesn't weigh me down because I have their best interests at heart)

There is a  death and we are at the and minds deteriorate...
and you must act...
and act you will
as hard an act as ever could put one foot in front of the other and press on.

Act with a sound mind but with a shattered heart, a heart that has loved and remembers all the good times...a heart that wants more than can be possible...a heart that aches and breaks.

Details are not necessary...
I am clinging to the positive....
there is nothing else to be done...
accentuate the positive and minimize the negative.

We will survive...we must.
I am getting up tomorrow morning and placing one foot in front of the other and pressing on...with a stiff upper goes on...
I hope it does.....


  1. Just allow me to wipe away a tear....

    You are right, details are not necessary.
    I'm feeling your pain, so beautifully written from the heart.
    I suspect we are leading somewhat parallel lives.
    And tomorrow I shall also get up and put one foot in front of the other, keep breathing and try to laugh with my loved one and cherish every moment while she still remembers me.
    Take care dear Hostess

  2. You have captured this moment in time beautifully, if painfully. I am also an "only" daughter-in-law, with a raft of 80yo relatives on both sides of the family who are going to become needy one of these days.
    Wishing you strength!

  3. I am so sorry...I completely understand, my Mother is 99 and life is not a happy or well understood place for her - fortunately she is still able to be in her home with a caregiver, and I live next door. It is all so difficult and sad. Take care.

  4. Hostess, this sounds so difficult. When you know you are doing the right thing, though, things are hard but doable. I hope you have support.

  5. I think that I understand from a childhood watching parents care for their aging parents and grandmothers, and now being called upon to assist (expected to beyond my legal capabilities) with a failing aged relation with financial issues (that I cannot go back in time and fix). I do not worry well either and am tiring of being awake, heart pounding every morning at 3 am and sick to my stomach many days (though Tums are a good source of calcium, right?). We will get through - LPC is right, don't be afraid to ask for help and support where you know you can find it.

  6. As always, you have captured true, raw emotion with such eloquence. Thinking of you as you put one foot in front of the other...

  7. Dear Hostess, I am so very sorry that clearly things are very difficult for you at the present. I always find that when times of crisis arrive it is best to just do what you can as and when and not think too much about the bigger picture since that can be overwhelming.

    Things do resolve but do not do more than you feel able to at any point. There is always tomorrow, when the way forward may be clearer.

    My thoughts are with you.

  8. My sister-in-law is caring for my father-in-law, who is 91. Very difficult, as you well know.

  9. so beautifully written, from someone who has gone through this twice. if i would have had to write about it then two words come to mind...this sucks.

    you are so eloquent leslie. i will pray for you and your family that you find some comfort.


  10. I have come home to a quiet house and am sitting here reading all of your comments.
    Thank you so much for your kind words, thoughts, and personal reflections, they mean a lot to me.
    I feel supported and encouraged.

    Sharing similar family situations, I find comfort knowing that I am not alone.

    I know in my heart that we have taken the correct action and after a period of transition things should improve...the stress will ease and we will be able to restore some balance in our own lives.

    Thanks for being here and listening.

  11. Hostess: Being an only child, I had to take care of my mother during her last two years. For starters, our relationship was bad from the very beginning. I was suffering from anxiety, frustration and depression all that time, also earlier, but everything reached it´s peak in the very end and I did get a nervous breakdown finally after her death.
    Taking care of the elderly is a tough job. Been there. My sympathies are with you!

  12. materfamilias-I feel I can cope...I hope that I can be graceful.

    Metscan-I admire your dedication in view of the is incredibly difficult when we come to these junctures...and we are really not emotionally prepared and not at all trained...I am saddened to hear that you suffered after you took such care with your Mother.

    I have surprised myself...I am stronger than I thought...and I am a ROCK when it comes to my life love and partner, the ever sweet Mr.HB...I do it for him.

  13. Oh Hostess

    I am so sorry to hear about what you and your family are dealing with at the moment.

    Please look after yourself too.

    My thoughts are with you all.

    SSG xxx

  14. SSG- I am taking care and have my family supporting me. Thank you for your concern.

  15. Wrap yourself snugly (along with all good memories) in the knowledge that you have cared and made the best decisions possible.

    While your heart catches up with your head, give your body the rest and nourishment it needs.

    Friends care. And even we who have never met you except through your well-crafted words here ARE your friends.

  16. From the midst of my own difficult parent situation I wish you the very best. I've been the one to say/do unpopular but necessary things, and it's not easy.

  17. Oh, no. I am so sorry. What a difficult place you find yourself in. And what a wonderful attitude you bring. I do hope that you have all the support you need. You deserve it.

  18. Rebecca-As I read this I am snuggly wrapped in a cozy terry robe...your words and insight about the heart catching up to the head are spot on...and R & R are exactly what Mr. HB and I are doing this very moment.

    Maggie- We have this in common and as you say it is unpopular but necessary...what would happen if we did not act? Turning a blind eye is not in the best interest in this situation. I fear that to neglect might be putting someone we love in a dangerous, maybe fatal position.

    La Belette Rouge-We do have support from friends and family some of who have traveled quite a distance to be with us....Mr. HB and I have been advised by medical specialists that our decision is the right one given the circumstances.
    Advancing age does become problematic, she is a 93 year old "grand dame" a title borrowed from Lisa from amidlifeofprivilege blog.

  19. Not a lot I can add, but I face the aging and deterioration of my mother also. My thoughts are with you, I hope you have some supportive people around (in addition to your blog supporters).

  20. So hard when people are so fiercely independent, and at the same time completely dependent on one grandmother-in-law, also a "grande dame," was very much like this. After her husband's death (they had been married 58 years) she was inconsolable. And she had cancer, and he was the one who had looked after her. It was hardest, I think, on her children--X's mother and uncle, who, no matter what they did, could never quite compensate for the loss of their father. My thoughts are with you.

  21. I really feel for you! It seem so often that these tasks are left to daughter-in-laws. Immediate family can often sit by and do nothing and when someone does act in the best interest of those at risk, they are quick to criticize. My dear grandmother had only 3 sons and no daughters. She had a dehabilitating stroke in 1995, and I was made her 'power of attorney' for 6 yrs. until her death. I was only 28 at the time and did not have any experience for the job...just heart. I did all her errands, paid her bills, bought her clothes and cosmetics, arranged manicures & haircuts and then had to 'break' the news to her when we had to move her from one level of care home to another. I loved her dearly and would have done anything for her, but I often felt that her boys had 'copped' out by giving this task to me, her granddaughter, and it was often a very 'thankless' job. I had a 4 yr. and a baby at the time, and worked full time.
    It seems that these tasks fall to the people who are truly capable of the job and do it with heart. My heart goes out to.... this shows that you are a woman of character and love, strength and determination. Hugs to you! Angie xo

  22. Wishing you and your family well. I'm sorry that you're going through a difficult time.

  23. Staircase witch- Your experience and mine are very similar...there are a lot of us who have aging parents with challenges...hope that things are going well for you.

    Angie@EchoesLaughter-Oh my that does sound like you had a lot on your plate. Our issues are similar but I have grown children and work only part are a kind and compassionate granddaughter, and an inspiraion to all of us!

    Cherie-Thank you Cherie, I am feeling much more balanced after a weekend away. The issues are still with us, but I am rested and am able to accept things the way they are and not stress out about things that I have little or no control over.