I'm a "sandwicher". I am taking care of my kids and taking care of my old, cantankerous, Russian Mother-in-Law at the same time.
And it really sucks.
As if the stress and strain of trying to care of a old woman whose mind is no longer with us across 3000 miles during deployments isn't enough suckiness, we get the added suck of career advice from people who think they know what's best for everyone involved even though they've never lived a military lifestyle.
And, since you asked, why yes I did have one of those confrontations today!
This is not the first time we've had run-ins with professionals who think that if everyone only did as the professionals said, the world would run perfectly. And maybe it would, but 70 year old women with violent onset dementia don't do what they are told. If they did, life would be quite easy.
What we were told was this, "Well, perhaps if you could move closer and take care of this it wouldn't be so difficult. Have you considered this?"
Well, yes ma'am, I sure have. I sure have considered having my husband give up everything he's worked for, everything WE'VE worked for in the last 15 years to move back to an area where there are no jobs in hubby's field and a high cost of living to care for a cantankerous old woman who hates everyone and can't leave the facility caring for her. I've considered it, and the answer is NO. No, it's not going to happen. So don't ask again. And if you think that makes me a horrible person, deal with it, because it really isn't your business to plan my life.
And Ma'am, before you hit me with yet another suggestion... Of course we've tried to move her near us. She refuses. We move every 18 months or two years. She just would not be able to do this with her state of dementia. It's just. Not. Possible.
Military families get hit with these kind of (usually) patronizing comments a lot whenever something difficult goes down. And sometimes the best thing to do is to quietly bow out and go back, give up everything and go "home". Sometimes those sacrifices must be made -- but not always. And that "not always" sure seems to set some people off, doesn't it?
Caring for elderly parents is never easy. My parents are currently caring for my grandmother - and it's very tough for them - and they live less than a mile away from her! Add in 3000 miles across the continental United States with no siblings and no partners to help and it becomes darn near impossible.
But that doesn't change the fact that it still needs to be done. And we will do it - military families always do manage to pull it out no matter how impossible or insurmountable the problems may seem
What I'm hoping is that as we get mental health professionals who are specifically trained to deal with military family issues, we will also get health professionals with an understanding that life is not as cut and dried for us as it would be if we worked at Barnes and Noble and lived 2 miles from Mother. It's just not, and it never will be. And it's not always in the best interest of everyone involved to try and force such a scenario.
In the meantime, I'll just keep breaking out the chocolate when one of these crises hit. It does seem to help.
Anyone want to join me?