There were 2 things that use to evoke a sort of "that'll never be me" kind of response.
One was menopause--sorry if this is too real for some of my readers. Me and my girlfriends use to laugh about our mothers, wiping their foreheads, back of the neck with potholders, napkins at the supper table, suddenly turning red and leaving a room. We use to say can you imagine in a few years all of us being like that. We'd laugh and say we'd all need to buy personal fans. But it never really sank in.
Until we all NEEDED to buy personal fans. Until we woke up 3, 4 times a night, sometimes to take a shower, only to get back in bed between damp sheets.
I mean what were our options. Medication on the market all carried disclaimers that sustained use could/would cause cancer. There are no options. It was a soul-draining slog where you feel like you're living a half life or jet lag--for years. Right when you're to the pt that your kids aren't keeping you awake at night suddenly your own body won't let you rest.
It wasn't funny. And it did happen to me.
The other thing was hearing people talk about "someday" taking care of parents. They seemed so weary, so bland. I thought, well that won't be me because (what--they weren't going to age, they'd live forever, or nothing that bad could ever befall me--or even I have super powers??!). It has happened. Is happening now.
This weekend we drove to my parent's house in northern Ohio, a land so economically depressed that we were depressed just getting there through the bleak countryside, to find their situation even in the span of 2 months further deteriorated. Oxygen in Use met me at the door. That was different from the last time I was there in February. You see no one tells me anything. That was one of the reasons we made the trip. But I think only seeing things for myself could actually convince me that things are going south VERY quickly. That evening taking care of them hammered the nail home. My husband and I were up every two hours telling them what the time was and NO it's not morning, not time to start the coffee pot, and NOT time to shower.
I won't go into other details, but the next day we got Home Helpers in there because we needed a rest. And in that space of time I saw that THIS IS ME. This is now. We were at that point where decisions will have to be made and, man oh man, this is going to be HARD.
So now I'm home, exhausted, and still reeling. Everything has changed.
And I wish we could all go back to 1977, to our avocado green kitchen and a wall phone where the cord stretched into the living room and Mom saying you have a phone call and handing me the receiver and me sitting on the nubby upholstered couch watching TV, petting the dog, with the phone pressed between my shoulder and ear. I can hear her now, behind me the pass-thru window, in the kitchen making supper.