Let me establish a bit of credibility. My mom had a stroke when she was 49. I was 29. I was her eldest child and she was unmarried which meant I was in charge of the big decisions. She never walked again. She died at age 58 from ovarian cancer. My dad was in his mid-60’s when he was diagnosed with COPD. He died at age 67; massive heart attack. Likely a complication of not being able to get enough oxygen and blood flow. I made health care choices, managed business affairs and acted like a parent to my parents when they needed it the most. It was hard and perhaps a bit harder with my mom because none of my close friends were going through it. It was just a very hard time.
When our parents start to age and need more from us, it’s hard. I keep using the word ‘hard’ because IT IS. It’s challenging. It’s scary. And it’s also very sad. And so much of what you’re feeling can get swept under the rug when there’s so much to do to provide the scaffolding for our parent’s lives. It can impact your health, your family and your friendships. Aging or ill parents can also put strains on sibling relationships. It’s all hard and when you were born no one said “Hey, in about 40-50 years your parents are going to need you to take care of them so pay attention and be ready.” There’s no manual. But working with a life coach can help you sort it out.
A life coach can help you prioritize and help you prepare for tricky conversations that are inevitable. You might need someone to help you sort through the past. You might find that old grudges or past hurts are coming up. You might experience age old conflict with a sibling. Sometimes differences and conflict have always been there under the surface. Just waiting for a spark.
Basically, these are unchartered waters. Ask for help. Don’t spend too much time treading water. It’s exhausting. Reach out. There’s no rule that says you have to do it alone. No pulling yourself up by your boot-straps necessary.