My midlife crisis with a geriatric twist

This year has been an exceptionally hard one—my mother has been to the hospital more times than I can count on all my digits. Had someone told me when I was in my teens that having a ‘mature’ mother was going to have as many downs as ups, I would not have believed them.

Very good friends

My mum was 38 when she had me, and now that I am just past that age myself, I can really appreciate what it meant (and still means) to have that much of a gap between us. There are the obvious benefits—I was the youngest of a large family so my mum was not overwhelmed by bumps, cuts, bruises, broken hearts, wild hairdos, and the breaking of curfew. In fact, I believe it is because of this age difference that my mother and I have always been very good friends; she was able to spend quality time with me, unconcerned with balancing home and career, more thankful for the opportunity to have a small child in her life. I know for a fact that most of my friends have held off starting their families till this mature age for all these very reasons.

Thanking mum with my time

On the flip side, I am now faced with the harsh reality that my mother will not be by my side for much longer. My neat little routine has been turned upside down as I run to and from her home, helping her with everyday tasks like opening up a tin of soup or putting on the kettle for a cup of tea. At my current age, my mum was carting me around to every cultural, theatrical, musical event in town, and then leaving me with a sitter at night while she painted the town red. I, on the other hand, have suspended my cavorting to take the opportunity to thank my mum for everything she has done for me, the only way I know how—with my time.

The true meaning of compassion

I am by no means the perfect caregiver or daughter; I find myself shaking with uncontrolled frustration when my mum gets it in her head that she’s not going to help herself. Her body may be failing, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with her mind—a mixed blessing for sure! But through it all, there are fabulous and even hilarious moments that I thought I could share with you. Through all this, I am coming to understand the true meaning of compassion; a lesson that is hard learned, but well worth the journey.


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