A friend's mother is sick. My friend sleeps in her mom's apartment and crosses a no-longer-familiar city via public transportation every morning and late afternoon to sit at her mom's bedside during twice-a-day hospital visiting times.
My friend is doing what we'd do in her shoes. Her behavior is expected, except one of her organs is failing—and she's pretending to be just fine so her mother won't suspect.
Would you put on a hale-and-hearty act to keep your sick mother from worrying?
Yeah, me, too.
I've written about how mothers-of-grown-children don't warn new moms their children will face illness, bullying, drugs, and heartbreak. Instead, we distill what we know into advice like, "Enjoy every minute you spend rocking your baby."
We're called the "sandwich" generation. In fact, we were the "don't ask; don't tell" generation before the military adopted the phrase. In our defense, no new mother has ever asked an old one: "Tell me what to expect during the teen-age years. I want to know everything."
And we haven't asked our parents what it's like—really like—to navigate old age. We fuss at them if we catch them eating Pop Tarts for lunch, and we'll bug them to schedule medical check-ups, but we're reluctant to discomfit the people who taught us to ride bikes and drive. How many times have we tried to make sure our parents are okay financially only to back off when our dads glare and our moms get huffy-puffy?
Until her mother is out of the woods, my friend will blame her own fatigue on worry and jet-lag.
Send positive thoughts her way, won't you?
This week, tell a child, parent, spouse, or significant other you love him/her. Ask if there's anything that person wants to talk about.