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Suddenly, They're All Gone

Carol Mithers is a West-Coast-based journalist and author.   On March 22, her posting Suddenly, They’re All Gone appeared on The New York Time’s “New Old Age Blog.”

One week later there were 579 comments.

Her topic, the overwhelming-ness of being part of the sandwich generation, is not unfamiliar to us.   

In our 70’s (and for the lucky ones, beyond the 70’s) many of us are fully functional and are not a burden on the next generation.  But unless we are very lucky, we will be a burden on someone some day. 

Mithers tells about having her older relatives’ care-givers on speed dial; about knowing that things would not get better.  She writes, “Frantic was my new normal and normal the new never…”  She goes on to talk about “listening” because the past returns for the old when there is no future. 

In the end, she says, “Their singularity dazzled me.  Their selves, revealed in all their layered complexity, could never be replaced.  I came to know them—and I fell in love.”

Many of us have “walked” in Mithers' shoes.  But soon it could be us needing the help. Suddenly, They're All Gone is a story that we need to hear. http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/22/suddenly-theyre-all-gone/#more-14730)

Comments

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Marilyn

Thank you for the link to the article. I spent a little more than a year doing long-distance care giving/care management for my mom before moving her 600 miles to be near me when it was obvious she was no longer safe at home.

I thought it would be easier with her close to me, it was not!

Two months after moving her, she (like one of the elders in the story) got an infection that was discovered too late, she ended up in intensive care for two days before she passed away in early January.

I'm still reeling from the events surrounding her passing, it was such a comfort to read that my experience and my response to that experience are not unusual.

I gave the article to my husband to read. He still has both his parents, and is not involved in their care in any way. He has not been sympathetic to my emotional challenges. He was quite moved and seems to have more understanding of those times I go, as he said, "to the darker side".

Thanks again, very much.

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