"My Ageing Parent Do Not Want Care." - Part 2
My #parents were #ageing and I could see that they were beginning to struggle with most things, even though they did not want to admit it. The signs were there and not being able to help them as much as I wanted to had begun to take a toll on me, #mentally, #physically and #emotionally.
I found myself with all the responsibility when it came to making sure our parents were okay. My brother Tom, a banker had emigrated to Australia soon after the collapse of the banking industry in 2008. He had said that it would be temporary and that he was only ‘testing the waters’. After being out there for a year, he had phoned to say he had met someone and a few months later had ‘popped’ the question! It came as a surprise as I never thought of my brother being one to settle down and start a family as his ambition to one day becoming a successful investment banker and retiring by age forty would not allow for it. “I guess I’m just selfish Lucy.” He would say, “Positively selfish, yes that’s it!” and we would both laugh.
Today though, I wouldn’t have found it funny at all. Quite the opposite, I would have called him plain selfish! No, ‘negatively selfish, that’s it!
I felt bad that I could not visit my parents and help out as much as I used to, and guilt became the norm whenever I thought of them. I had begun to panic every time my phone rang and I saw my parent’s number show up. #Caring for my parents from a distance was becoming #overwhelming and brought me to tears most of the times. I felt a terrible sense of #helplessness and #frustration. “What if dad had a #fall whilst out in the garden?” He still insisted that he could manage a border or two. He was always joking that he could do a much better job than John our gardener who had been attending to our garden for the last twenty nine years. Dad had experienced two near misses if it wasn’t for John who had been with him both times. Dad had agreed to stick to the raised flower beds instead but mother had caught him a few times trying to take on a bit more.
One thing I knew was that I was not trying to take away my parents #independence, which is what my father accused me of instead, I wanted to make sure that help was always at hand whenever they needed it. That they could relax and enjoy a quality of life in their later years, being together in the home they loved. My parents had always made it clear that they did not want to move into a care home. I had noticed a decline in their health in the last two years, especially mum. I could see how bad dad’s back had become from helping my mother out of bed and carrying on as though it was nothing. But it was something, “Dad, you will be no good to mum or yourself if you keep this up.” He would usually ignore me or change the subject.
I could not understand why he was so resistant to getting #carer in to help. I wanted to know that if I could not be there, then someone else would. One of my colleagues had arranged for full time #careathome #liveincare for her mother who had fallen a few times alone at home. I thought that this was something my parents would gladly welcome and was really struggling to understand their reluctance.
They were happy to have Margo, the lady who came round every Thursday to help clean the house. She had been doing this for as long as I could remember. So how was having a #carer so different? I just couldn’t understand.
In a way, I wanted to make my life easier too. I had put all my travel plans on hold and turned down a promotion which meant moving to Munich earlier in the year. I had kept this from my parents as I did not want them to worry. I knew how they truly felt when Tom moved away, even though they tried to hide it. My parents had become very reliant on me and I did not want to let them down.
Things were so much easier when I lived at the back of our little village not far from the house I grew up in. I could pop in #everyday and sit down for a quick lunch or cup of tea. My move to #London had not been the easiest, having lived in a small village all of my early adult life. The thought of busy streets, feeling claustrophobic amongst the crowds of people during rush hour on the underground, a city which never sleeps with its bright lights, #restaurants and #bars around every corner, made me wonder if I would ever get used to this new and fast way of city life. It did not take me long to decide that although London is a busy place, the hustle and bustle brings a life to the city, a very different life from what my little village used to, a life which now, I wouldn’t want to be without.
I was struggling with the move because of the distance it created between me and my parents. Initially it was not too bad as dad was still driving and he and mum used to come down every other Sunday for a nice #roastdinner. I was never one for cooking and could never understand the time spent preparing and cooking a meal in comparison to the time it took to eat it. It just didn’t seem right, or justified. Or at least that was my logic to hide the fact that I was a terrible cook.
My saving grace was a classic French Bistro just two streets away from my apartment. The delicate aroma of buttery pastry from an onion soup en croûte made me remember why I liked it so much in the first place. Unlike the thin, Marmite-y broths I had tasted elsewhere, this onion soup was thick, boozy and slightly sweet, with grated gruyère for that authentic, cheese-string effect. They really made simple things very well and that suited me just fine.
“Care for some more tea love?”