Well it's not been the best start to the new year/decade. Grandma Naida went in an ambulance to the hospital w ongoing atrial fib of the heart, and her bronchitis turned into pneumonia. They are tinkering with meds, and she is still having a lot of chest pain. A month ago, they tried a planned procedure to shock her heart back into rhythm, but the result only lasted a few days before the atrial fib kicked back out of whack. Meanwhile, Grandpa is still in the rehab facility, recovering from his hip break accident. The good news is he is covered w 24/7 help while Grandma is in the hospital, he's been recovering since late October, so he is most anxious to get out & go home-- always a sign of recovery. Looks like they still need to do more therapy, so late January they may set him free. My Mom is in a care facility in Illinois, with Alzheimer's. She will celebrate her 85th birthday this month! I do go through periods of wondering how is it we are all spread across the country by thousands of miles, so we are not able to help in times of need. I have taken family leave over the years, to help post op, and do working vacations to help with major projects that are needed, and this is the first year in a while that I took a break. Last year I spent 2 weeks of vacation dismantling my Mom's house of 40 years. Definite labors of love, but also I found it emotionally difficult. Mom is still alive, and we were emptying the house, as if she was not. I had a few meltdown moments, just overcome with how sad it all was. To watch a vibrant, fiercely independent woman "fade" with this disease is difficult. To this day, Mom is still fairly lucid, but she shifts into a not here & now mode sometimes in mid conversation. Her beloved Sister who passed away a few years ago, is always referred to as being alive, in the present ~ even though Mom attended the funeral. With this disease, you don't correct the person, upsetting and or confusing them further.
I just agree, and then change the subject.
There are times I want to just uproot & go to the Midwest & be there to help them. This really is their time of need, when their ability to live independently is no longer the same. But the reality is we do have everything in place here. Jobs, a home, etc. It's not that easy to just flip everything circa 2010. Jobs are scarce, even selling or renting a home is a big deal & no way we could afford two different house or rental payments. Even family medical leave has it's limits...
you can take time off for immediate family, but not In-laws, for instance. Even that is time without pay... so it is limiting by virtue of financial reality. I keep feeling like I myself did not think this through very well-- of course our relatives would need help in their "sunset years".
It feels like time just suddenly warped & each elderly relative is in a time of need.
Old man time just got real stingy, and I feel trapped, by economic reality, obligations, and a wish to be able to be there for everyone, when in reality I know I can't.