Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Most of us were caught in the so-called "Sandwich Generation" and some of us still are. That meant we were taking care of, usually, teenage kids and also aging parents at the same time. The squeeze in the middle was us. And it usually meant that we short-changed ourselves on our own care, especially if we were also working adults. What was left to cut but our own time? And yet, being called on to aid everyone else and forgetting or putting ourselves last usually took it's toll. Somehow, I thought I'd left that behind. My mom died 22 years ago this month. My daughter is just beginning her 40s (and her own turn in the Sandwich Generation, I suppose). But there was a surprise for me, and one I'm really very honored to have sprung on me. When my brother-in-law died last fall after a long battle with cancer, it suddenly fell to me to be the one to help my older sister with her own health issues through the struggles of widowhood and all that entails. She lives several hours away from me, so that means a weekend every month or so on her home turf. She will be moving here, but in the interim must divest herself of 40-ish years of lifelong accumulations as well as the home they loved. She has picked out her new place here, which is exciting, too! Last night, as she wrangled with yet another pitfall of widowhood (it's always about the paperwork, doncha know?), I said, "Well, this is a learning experience." And she replied, "Like I'll ever need it again." I agreed that I hoped she wouldn't. But reminded her that it's entirely possible that I might - not the widowhood part, I'd have to marry first and that's not in the cards (no matter what my tarot says!) - but knowing what the differing agencies/retirement plans/IRS rules say will help this elder accountant in the future as I come in contact with folks in need. I work for a disability organization after all, and who knows who might need some kernel of information I gather along my own life path? She worried last night that she was keeping me up and I was tired having fought a bad tummy bug over the weekend. I was tired. But as I reminded myself and her there's nothing I'd rather do than help her, so I made the effort to take a few minutes with the tarot, incense, and candles, lighting my own path of meditation and introspection before heading off to dreamland. After all, slowing down like that helps me drift off to sleep that much easier! So I'll close up here with a photo of the sweet traveler's notebook I'm using to track everything she and I are doing for her. She loves her flowers, so this was the perfect book to use for my beloved "Big Sis."