Friday, November 4, 2011

When Home Is So Far Away

A couple days ago, my mom informed me that she had an incident with my grandfather. My dad, on his way to pick her up from work, noticed that the police were at the house. On the way back, my mom stopped in to see what was wrong and an officer decided to berate my  mother about elder abuse. Luckily, my mother has a backbone and informed the officer that my grandfather repeatedly threatens her and my dad doesn't allow her to go over to my grandfather's house. The officer apologized but then upset my mother further by saying that he didn't think my grandfather wouldn't be around much longer anyway. They couldn't get my grandfather's attention for a long time. I think he may have had a small stroke. He wasn't taken to the hospital. He probably refused to go.

That same night, we got a phone call that my husband's grandmother had had a heart attack, albeit a small one. He was and is still very upset. Five months after we moved to Florida, his grandfather died. It had been one of his greatest fears when we left, that his grandfather would die. Now, again, he is in Florida, worrying that the same thing is about to happen. So far, she is doing well as can be expected.

The crux of the situation is that we are a two days drive from our family. If we push ourselves, we could be there in 24 hours. We feel a tremendous amount of guilt that we are not there to support our parents. They are getting older and having health issues of their own. My mother has crippling arthritis that may put her in a wheelchair if she doesn't have knee surgery. My dad has his own health issues. I can't expect him to take care of her all the time. My brother is still in college and has no way to get home every day. We are doing our best to get home, looking for teaching jobs in our home state. I told my husband I would sell everything just to get back home.

Do you live far from older relatives? Do you experience guilt over not being within driving distance?

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