The MidLife Squeeze

Can we talk about my summer?

It’s been rough. I know lately I have been all about travel but life happens. And sometimes death does too. At the end of June, my mother in law had a major surgery which had he in the ICU for 9 days. And then she went home on hospice. My husband told me the doctor was going to have scheduled discussion with my in laws in the hospital and him on the phone. We had both come home from taking turns visiting in the hospital, me first and then him over the fourth of July.

I went out for coffee with some friends and was taking the metro home. My husband got on my train at the stop by his work. We sat across from each other, riding with strangers trying to digest the news. Hospice.

This past year and a half we’ve gone back and forth to their house after she was diagnosed and had various treatments. And I found myself in an interesting new place that very few of my friends are in. The midlife squeeze. Here’s an article about the phenomenon I am currently in, except I am not a baby boomer. I am gen X. I am only 38. I am not in my fifties. But I had kids young and married someone 6 1/2 years older.   So here I am with my youngest kid going off to college in the fall and recently, my mother law passed away on hospice.

We spent most of July either at my in laws’ house, a hotel near their house, driving to and from their house, or taking care of things at our house in order to get back up to their house.During that time, we hardly worked, we had a pipe leak into my youngest kids room, our dog was sick, and I got a special boot to wear because of my bruised bone. And we took our youngest to college orientation. We used a lot of favors to watch our dog and by the end of July we were exhausted. And then we went back for the service. That kind of work wears you out emotionally and physically.

I wish I could say I was closer to my mother in law. But we weren’t. It’s not that we didn get along. We just weren’t close. Despite that, she was a good mother to my husband and a good person. I was honored to help my husband, my mother in law and the family in any way I could as they navigated hospice and the end of her life.

I find myself surprised at how stressful life can be at new stages. I guess I think life will be easier later. You know, once your babies are in school, or once your school age children can drive themselves around, or once your teenagers aren’t so emotional…. But that way of thinking hasn’t served me. Instead I wake up in a new stage with new problems. So somehow I have to find a way to enjoy whatever I can in the face of whatever there is. If that means laughing about your in laws’ six lamps in a living room (called the no no room) that no one is allowed hang out in, so be it. We did had a few good laughs in July. And a few good cries too.DSC_1034

Be sad when you need to and be happy whenever you can about whatever you can.

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