Friday, October 15, 2010

When parents get old

My entire life I saw my parents as hard-core, indestructible people who can do anything, know everything, and will be around for ever. 

About 5 years ago a friend lost a parent.  He was about my dad's age and lived an active lifestyle.  She, too, thought he was invincible.  It was then that I let myself consider the fact that my parents will die and that I will have to deal with that.  It was then that I realized that I needed to learn to accept the facts of life in order to better cope with an inevitable future.

Since then I see each year as a gift.  While I don't get to see my parents often because of where I live in Cuba and where they live (Dominican Republic).  I know, seems traveling between the two places should not be an issue but it is. Any travel in and out of the island (the base) requires several people, signed papers and true planning in case the one flight going my way is cancelled.

My mom (actually she's my step-mom) has Alzheimer's disease, my dad has type 2 diabetes. She doesn't remember much and he has to take care of her. I know this has to be exhausting for him and she doesn't really remember much.  I feel useless.  What can I do from here? Even the Internet is pointless if I don't have some type of lead.  How do you find that trusting visiting maid or nurse to come over weekly? What if she needs specialized care or needs to live in a home? What can I do?

This is a source of stress for me.  I think about them daily, I call them often and I pray that somehow they will be OK.  For now they are doing fine.  I dread the day when I get a call telling me I have to travel due to family Emergency. 

I will continue to call, write, and visit when I can.  I just want them to know how much I love them.  I want them to be there for them and they know that I would if we could.

In my heart, my parents will always be undefeated!

XOXO Mami y Papi :-) Los quiero mucho.