Thursday, 11 February 2016

When your parents get old and you're not around...

I am experiencing a severe case of guilt at the moment, and even if I know it's a bit unfounded, I can't help it.

I won't go into too much details because it's quite personal, but both my parents have just undergone major surgeries in the past few weeks. Everything went well, they are back home recovering, but it will take some time until they are fully "functional". Thankfully, my sister and my brother are very close by. They visit them almost every day, do the shopping, get prescriptions from the chemist, and just check that they're doing OK.

This is where guilt is kicking in for me. I know I can't be there for my parents and that's fine (well, sort of). What I feel most guilty about is that everything is falling on my siblings. And it's not just now. This is where it's going in the long term. My parents are not getting any younger and there will be one day when they need more care. And I won't be there. I can see my sister and brother having to deal with all the practicalities of organising nurses to come daily, or even looking for a retirement home. They'll have to deal with the paperwork, but not only that, they will be the ones dealing with  our parents' health and well-being first hand.

I can't help but feel guilty about not being around to help them. Of course I know they will consult me for the big decisions, but they won't pick up the phone for every little thing. In a way, it's easier for me. I won't have to deal with the everyday issues, and my parents will be happy to see me when I come for a holiday. On the other hand, I hope my siblings won't resent me for being far away and not being able to help more. We have a great relationship so I doubt there will be conflict, but you never know...

I've just started to realise that my parents are not eternal. They are getting older. I know I can't lead my life according to what might or might not happen to them at some point in the future, but sometimes, I almost feel selfish about being abroad.

Have you experienced the same feeling about not being there for your parents and siblings, or am I just over-reacting?