Sometimes It’s Hard

Posted: November 5, 2009 in Uncategorized

A couple of posts back I was whining (as I am wont to do) about the cold after coming back to Montreal from the warm sunny California desert. I’m very much the broken record (for those of  you who remember that particular prehistoric product) in that regard. Always and forever.

In the comments, XUP asked why, if the cold was that bad for me, I didn’t go live in the heat?”

And I had to stop and wonder. Why not indeed? As she pointed out, jobs can be found.

Unfortunately it’s not that simple. Jobs can indeed be found, but getting a green card to work legally in the US is not so easy. Being someone’s illegal alien maid or waitress? Not so much.

And, despite my whining about the weather, I do love Montreal. Unlike lots of cities, and most US cities I’ve been to, there’s always something going on. There’s animation, there’s life, it’s a great place to live. Now if only we could transport the whole city to the middle of the desert…

And then there’s that other thing. That thing that means there is no way you can leave. That one thing that makes it impossible… Aging parents. That particular issue was brought home to us with a bang this week when Mr. Jazz’s elderly aunt who lives downstairs began having serious issues. My own mother, who lives in another city has health issues (thankfully, my sister lives near her) and Mr. Jazz’s own mom is getting on in years.

Moving to the desert sun is simply not an option. Because what do you do? Leave them on their own? No. We couldn’t.

I find it very bizarre to be in this position. How can it be that all of a sudden we’re caretakers for the people who have always been our rocks? These people who have always been there for us, who have always been so strong? We find ourselves watching those rocks crumble and it’s very disconcerting, to say the least.

Finding help, finding a place for her where she’ll be safe, knowing all the while she’ll be angry that we’re doing this, that she’ll most likely consider we’re ganging up on her, it’s heartbreaking. And knowing we have no choice because she has become a danger to herself… it’s heartbreaking. It’s all heartbreak.

And I can’t help but wonder what we’ll do when our turn comes. Will we have the gumption – as my mom did – to move to a place of our choice before things become serious? I hope so. Especially as we have no kids to take care of us (not that that’s any guarantee, or that I’d ask that of my kids anyway).

My mortality has been brutally shoved into my face. And I don’t like it one bit.

  1. Dumdad says:

    "My mortality has been brutally shoved into my face. And I don't like it one bit."Oh yes, and this becomes more acute as the years roll away. We just have to keep plodding on…

  2. Dumdad says:

    The deleted post was me – accidentally double clicked, dummy that I am.

  3. mrwriteon says:

    Haven't been to Montreal in years but when I have visited I have been quite enchanted. Bad weather can be endured if there are good things as well. Out here we hate the rain as much as any visitor does, but there are other virtues. By the way, I am impressed (but in no way surprised) by your caring for the elders in your life.

  4. Mr. Jazz says:

    Heartbeaking is an understatement: it's eating me from the inside…

  5. Guillaume says:

    In spite of all its flaws, Montreal is indeed a lovely city. Not always beautiful, terribly inefficient, utterly corrupted, but yet lovely. I think what Orson Welles said in The Third Man could somehow apply to Montreal.

  6. XUP says:

    Here's what some seniors are doing instead of moving into a very expensive and boring retirement community they justl live on cruise ships and travel the world. Cruising is way cheaper, the food is better, you get to see lots of great WARM places, good medical care and there's always something going on aboard. Something for you and the Mr. to think about and look forward to!

  7. VioletSky says:

    I am seriously hoping that I will not turn into my uber stubborn mother (or father) when I am old and in danger of breaking a hip or burning the house down. I bet my niece does too, because she is all we have the next generation.

  8. Gnightgirl says:

    Thank you for writing the blog that I didn't have the energy to.

  9. geewits says:

    I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. I'm glad you guys had a nice long vacation before having to deal with all of this. Best of luck. And hey, with all this global warming, you guys will be golden in about 10 years. And I will have burnt to a crisp.

  10. Who's idea was it that we all grow frail and decrepit with age, anyway?its a bad unfair idea, i tell you, and whoever came up with needs to strung out on a line and shot, slowly.

  11. Jazz says:

    Dumdad – More acute. Oy… and I guess the double posting and deleting is simply proof that your name is well chosen??Ian – There's nothing impressive about taking care of your own… after all, how long did they take care of us. It's the least we can do.Mr. Jazz – I love you.Guillaume – it is a great city isn't it. XUP – Don't people just get fat on cruises?Violetsky – Yeah, I'm thinking I'm going to have to foist myself on my niece too. Poor child. Gnightgirl – Your welcome, and my heart goes out to you in your own situtation. It's so much worse than ours.Geewits – Thanks, I'm happy we got a vacation before all this happened too. As for global warming, it seems to pretty much bypassed Quebec. This summer was nasty cold.Rache – I can't help but wonder how you'll shoot someone slowly. 😉

  12. XUP says:

    I'm sure after you've had the buffet for the 900th day in a row, you won't be pigging out as much as you did the first 3 days

  13. I don't live near either of my parents, but I have warned my kids there is agood chance I'll want to live close to one of them when I'm old. But not if they move somewhere cold!

  14. Warty Mammal says:

    Mortality sucks. I wish you, Mr. Jazz, and your loved ones the best on this journey.Sometimes I have conversations with my husband. "What would we like best if and when we become too frail to stay here and do the upkeep? How can we retain dignity and stay alive until the very last?"The answers can be fun: "Say, what if we lived in a smaller place within walking distance of a coffee joint and a really great library and a bookstore like Powells!" Just as often, they aren't fun.I admire those who face this stage of life head on.As for moving to the U.S., I love it. It's the country of my birth. It's home. In many ways it's also deeply flawed, irrational, and corrupt. There's disappointment in that realization, as well as impetus: "Well, if you're so disturbed by some of these things, why are you merely standing by and watching the parade?"

  15. Jocelyn says:

    Oh, honey. You are entering such a distinct phase of life, and it's just the suck. I'm sorry.Maybe the payoff can be, one day, that you get a vacation home in a hot place??

  16. lime says:

    those are all significant considerations and dealing with one's own mortality is rarely a fun thing.

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