Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sandwich Generation

We read about it all the time, the sandwich generation.

I'm part of it, the sandwich generation, the generation that has to take care of its children and its aging parents simultaneously.

Only I don't have any children, so I'm relieved of that duty, and one day I'm going to be on the short end of the stick, because I'm going to be aged and alone, that old lady making her way through the grocery store because there'll be no one to do it for her.

My mother, and I'm liable to get in trouble for posting this, is slipping. Rather, she has slid.

And I am scared to death.

She is not the woman she was a year ago. She's not even the woman she was six months ago.

Early this year, she had a horrible episode in which she became so dehydrated that she went into acute renal failure, which cause encephalopathy (swelling of the brain) and was in the hospital nearly two weeks.

She was so out of her mind that she didn't know where she was and even now she has to be reminded what happened. When she's reminded, she says, "Oh. Yes, the doctor told me I could have died."

She's mainly excited that she lost 14 pounds during the whole mess.

Last night she called me to ask me to ask me how to get back on the Internet, and I told her to unplug her Airport and modem for a minute and restart her computer, and she swore she had neither - had never had them, in fact.

Of course she has them, or she never would have been on the Internet to start with, and besides, she's done all that before without me telling her to.

And just like that, I was antagonizing her by telling her to do something with materials she didn't have.

I know she snapped because she was frustrated. And I know she is in there, somewhere near the surface, and I cannot pull her back out.

I knew that one day it would come. I did not expect it to come all at once, jelly side down.


  1. This is so emotionally difficult to read because it makes my heart hurt for you and for your Mama. I'm sad for you because you can't fix it and I know how you like to fix things... you're a "doer" and nothing can be done. I'm sad for her because, in her mind, there's no rhyme or reason for why everything is so out of sorts and that's got to be the worst kind of frustration.

    In the end... know two things: (1) if there is anything that I can do to help you, I will; and (2) you won't ever be an old lady alone in a grocery store if I am able to do something about it.


  2. Thank you.

    I'm very good to the children in my life so they'll look after me when I'm old and crabby, you know.

  3. Your poor Mama. It has to be so tough, for both of you.

    I'll still keep you company when you're old and crabby.