Last Friday my mother fell off a ladder, missing the last rung on her way down, as she was changing the light bulb on her front porch, and shattered her elbow and hurt her tail bone. She was taken to the ER that night, but sent home to live a few agonizing days with bones jostling around her elbow, unable to do many basic things very well for herself with only one able hand. She finally had surgery to fix her messed up elbow yesterday and had to stay overnight, likely because she’s diabetic and they want to keep an extra close eye on her.
Being far away from home when your mother needs you is a little tough. My mom is a rock and doesn’t often slow down. She is super independent and doesn’t often ask for help. But, that’s exactly what she needed and will continue to need for a little while. My nephew took care of her dog for a few days. Several people from church brought over food and helped her with laundry and things. And thankfully my dad has been home for much of this.
My parents have really had quite the year. My father had an “eye lift” to lift up his drooping eye lid so he could see better, only to have it swollen for weeks (and worse than before in my opinion) and then not seem any higher once the swelling did go down! And because of that swollen eye, he caused an accident in his truck, and then a few months later another accident, which prompted him to sell his semi-truck and be unemployed for a little while. He is now working with a different company, driving a company truck. But, he found out he has a cataract in that same eye he had surgery on and still needs surgery for that.
My mother previous to this last fall, fell a month or two ago while walking the dog, tripping on a sidewalk that was slightly raised, bruising up her face and hip, requiring a few stitches. Both of my parents have other health issues on top of these things – diabetes and high blood pressure – and it makes me worry about them sometimes.
My father still has a few more years until he can officially retire and until he does my mother can’t collect SS or Medicare (she’s six years his senior). They still have a mortgage, other debt, expensive health insurance with high deductibles, and who knows how much saved for retirement.
Often I wish I could take better care of my parents in some way, but I can’t, and most of my siblings aren’t very able to help much financially either.
Sometimes Josh and I like to ask the proverbial question “If we won a million dollars what would we do with it?” (even though we don’t gamble). Top on our list is helping our parents and siblings – buying them houses (or paying off their current mortgages), getting them nicer (though maybe not new or fancy) cars, and maybe even a little on top of that, like savings for them or their children. Of course we’d give the same to ourselves as well.
As a young person in my mid 20’s, I guess I figured I wouldn’t have to worry so much about my parents aging for a long time, but that’s just not my reality. My mother was 42 years old when she gave birth to me. My parents are aging. And it’s not very fun worrying about their health and finances as they approach retirement and seniorhood. While I don’t think either of my parents are actually close to “kicking the bucket” (my mom’s mother lived until 91 years old and my dad’s mother is still living) you just never know sometimes, and I selfishly want my parents around for much longer. I want all my kids to know their grandparents.
So, when you’re far away from home and unable to help those you love and care about, I guess all that’s left to do is pray. And pray I do.
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