In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Friday, November 02, 2007

Late-in-Life Mom Reality Check

I realize I am now part of the "Sandwich Generation"--and I am a Club Sandwich.

Reality struck as I sat in the cardioligist's office with my mother-in-law, trying to digest a rather unpleasant diagnosis. Hers, not mine. I also watched the clock because I had to pick up Christa from school by 3 p.m.

Truth be told, my mother-in-law is an amazingly independent 89-year-old woman. But with just a few brief phrases from a specialist, some medical questions marks now loom in her life. "This is a bit of a shock," she said as I drove her home. For this stoic woman, that is the closest I've ever seen her to panic.

By this time, Christa was in the car, so I juggled the needs of my 6-year-old with my mother-in-law's. Chatted about Christa's day in first grade while discussing my mother-in-law's tests scheduled for next Tuesday. And I also thought about telling my three older children--one who lives across the country with his new wife.

Older children.
Caboose kiddo.

A Club Sandwich in the Sandwich Generation.

This is not a complaint. This is a reality check. A "Welcome to your world" moment. It may take me a while to adjust. But I will. And so will my husband, who is even more affected by this news. This is, after all, his mother. We'll figure this out together--all of us.

That's what families do.


At 11:31 AM, Blogger Tiffany Stuart said...

LOL, club sandwich! Leave it to you, Beth, to come up with some words that sing. Well done.

Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law. I'll pray.

Life is full of change. Some good. Some not so good. I'm here for you. Always.

At 1:13 PM, Blogger sognatrice said...

So sorry to hear about your MIL. Your club sandwich moment sucks :(

At 2:07 PM, Blogger Patricia said...

I don't know if you have been to my Pollywog Creek blog, Beth, but if you did, you might have noticed that family caregiving of the elderly is my heart. Washing the Feet of the Saints is the title of my somewhat neglected blog, but hopefully my book, for the purpose of encouraging families - those of us in the sandwich generation - who are caring for elderly relatives. Michael was married with a young family, the other boys were teenagers and Emily was 6 or 7 when my parents' health began to rapidly decline. She was 8 when we moved mother in with us. She was my constant companion on many hospital/doctor/rehab visits. Those were difficult, bittersweet years...but as you said, we figured it out together.."that's what families do." I will remember your family in prayer, Beth.

At 6:37 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

The words of encouragement are all appreciated. Yesterday still weighs heavily on me today.
Time to recite the "One Day at a Time" mantra.

At 7:41 PM, Blogger Nourishing Relationships said...

At moments like this, juggling the physical responsibilities while keeping all the emotions from unraveling is truly a balancing act. Taking some time each day just for you, even if you think it's impossible, will make a world of difference.

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

A good--and needed--reminder. I think I am forgetting myself a bit in all this. The taking care of myself part, that is.


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