Thursday, May 2, 2013

sandwiched and yelling

And nothing remotely kinky about it....

I am - we are - the sandwich generation.  My parents are in very poor health, have been medically fragile for years now.  They live in their own home, with outside help, but only just at the threshold of not managing.  My sister and I live far away.  It wouldn't be possible for either of us and our family to live with them in any case, nor for both of them to live with either of us. But this arrangement is tenuous.

And last week it tipped over.  I spent the week sitting bedside in an ICU, hoping and praying and facing very conflicted feelings about end of life, and quality of life.  I was also the comfort, support, decision maker, everything coordinator, protector and let's face it - the parent - to my mother.

Meanwhile, my family, my children and my husband, my job, my obligations and commitments of all sorts here, went on without me.  Many people graciously stepped in to cover for me.  But i am not good about accepting help or not meeting my responsibilities.   I'm just not.

My husband, very wisely, was nothing but supportive throughout, no demands, no obligations or expectations, no rituals, just concern and encouragement.  I couldn't have handled being sandwiched between any more roles, trying to meet and failing any other responsibilities.

My father is out of the woods now, we think.  I'm home for a few days - trying to catch up.  There's more to do there, more back and forth, more time away.  But for the moment, my husband became my Master again, i returned to Him, he made that happen.  And it feels very good.

The overwhelming stressors are still there though: the impossible situations, the powerlessness to help, especially from here, the not knowing, the obligations not met and catching up i need to do, the looming return to that role, when i really want to stay in this one.  Yesterday on the phone my husband was offering concrete solutions to a specific problem,  He was offering to cover for me - yet again.  And i lost it.

I yelled at him....I don't do that, never, well, hardly ever. And he told me i should, told me to lash out and let go.  That i need to.  And he was right.


  1. Yeah for hubby! I am also where you are....I have learned to accept the help and support..well most of the time...of others.
    hugs abby

  2. It is Truly a blessing to have someone who knows what we need.

    Sorry about your parents health.
    It is really difficult to be in the position of parenting one's mother--been there. Tough as hell to do.

    Hang in there!
    Holler at me anytime. I'm here if you need an extra ear.

  3. so sorry to hear about your parents, it is tough I know, I too have had my moments. Happy to hear your husband stepped up though, good for him and you.

  4. What a difficult place to be in...emotionally, physically, spiritually. My gosh but you handle so much! I'm hoping that, whatever the outcome, that you are okay; sure seems like your husband/Master knows exactly what you need, and that's the best part of all, isn't it?

    Sending coping energies, and hugs...

    ps--this piece was so beautifully written it made me cry.

  5. GG---dealing with aging parents is tough. Very, very tough.
    Good for you and hubby for finding a way in all of this very difficult circumstances.
    Hugs! Bunches.

  6. A wise man, your man.
    It's gotta go somewhere - and he can handle it.

    big ol' shoulder-bump

  7. Luckily, they do know when to let things go and even encourage certain behaviours when we need long as we don't get used it balances us out at times.

    Thinking of you during this tough time and happy you have your Master to turn to.

  8. Your husband is one smart guy.

    I took care of my grandma, and in turn my mom. I know exactly how hard that parental role reversal is. It helps to have a network of others who have experienced the same thing. If you want to talk about it e-mail me.

  9. I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. It is nice that you have the support you need, even if it is so difficult to accept. *hugs*

  10. Thank you - all of you - for leaving your well wishes. It does help to hear them. He is on the mend, and i am starting to be able to turn my attention back to my usual life. Lots left here to catch up on - but then - there always seems to be.