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Rising Strong as a “Sandwiched Caregiver” part one:

I am currently living in the sandwich generation. My young adult children on one side and my aging parents on the other. Most days I feel (mostly) competent. Other days I am in the mud, flat on my face in the arena. Every day I question “am I doing enough for both sides?”.

I just postponed the next (September) Rising Strong workshop due to my parents making an unexpected announcement of a visit to Idaho that same weekend. My mother’s health is fragile, she had radiation treatment earlier this year and is just recovering from her second bout of pneumonia. They want to visit, the story I made up is “this could be their last visit, drop everything”. “If you don’t you are a terrible daughter”. “And because you live so far away, you are not doing a good enough job taking care of your parents”. I am also disappointed to postpone the workshop and feel I have let folks down.

Fortunately, I do practice the Rising Strong model and know how to only visit, not camp out in these muddy waters. I know I can’t drop everything but can hope for grace and empathy from those who had to change their plans so I can drop somethings. And going into fact, not a story, I know that I wish to enjoy whatever time I have with my mama and that I not indeed a terrible daughter or they would have no desire to come to Idaho to visit me.

As far as not doing a good enough job caring for my parents, a trip into fact also is helpful. The fact is that I have practically stood on my head to get them to consider moving to Idaho so I can provide more help and support to them. No go. I have been super unpopular lecturing on the dangers of their living in a house with more steep stairs than an Aztec temple. They “are fine”. And when I call the doctor’s office to explain my concerns about my mother’s non-adherence to her medical plan, I am told “she is cognitively able to make her own decisions.”. Looks like my role is actually fairly clear at this point.

So using the Rising Strong methodology: I “reckoned with my emotions, rumbled through fact and fiction, and my revolution is my being able to reconcile my parents visit and the workshop conflict with a sense of peace.

Oh about Rising Strong on the other side of the sandwich? Please stay tuned.

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