Monday, January 20, 2020

asymmetry in taking care of family

In Western society, there is intense pressure to be an amazing parent to your kids, but it's acceptable to neglect your parents in their old age.

A parent who sends their kid to an orphanage is condemned. But if the same person puts their parent into a not-very-good retirement home and only visits them once per year, that wouldn't get a second glance. They'd get sympathy from their friends, "It must have been hard to put your mom/dad into the retirement home and not know if they're being mistreated."

The asymmetry is interesting.


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Difficulty of what to say

I have been taking care of my mom for nearly a year now. I am often sad about it. It is lonely, and I get insecure. 

I talked yesterday to a new friend T, who does some caretaking of her own:

Me: "If I tell people how it really is, I feel like a Debby Downer. I don't want to complain to them a bunch every time I talk to them. Sending a holiday card was hard."

T: "Yeah, my grandma used to send a holiday letter every year saying 'Merry Christmas. Here's all the bad things that happened to me this year. I broke my hip. This problem. That problem. Anyway, happy holidays!'"

Me: "Yes, that is my fear. I don't want to be depressing every time I talk to people. But then if I focus on the positive, I don't feel understood. That is not real."

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Some people have surprised me by how they are able to understand and empathize. Others keep making an effort, even though they don't know what to say. I really appreciate both those sets of people.