MY SANDWICH ERA
My family in Guadalajara is so large that there is always a special event going on when I visit! When I am packing for my visits, I make sure to take an evening gown, a cocktail dress and an outfit for a funeral. I know that I will be attending an event that will require at least one of these outfits regardless of when I plan my trip. It never fails that there is a special event to either celebrate or mourn.
A few months ago when I was visiting Guadalajara, we had a small (ha!) family gathering with about 40 of us. As is typical in Mexican gatherings, the place was full with children, babies, food, music and of course, plenty of Tequila and Mexican Coca Cola’s. By the way, American products do NOT taste the same as Mexican products. My older brother and I were chatting, looking around at the crowd when he turned to me and said, “Have you noticed that there are no older people that come to our gatherings anymore?” I smiled and agreed as I noticed my eyes traveling across our family. He continued to remark that the reason for this is because NOW THE OLDER PEOPLE ARE US! My smile was instantly wiped from my face leaving me flabbergasted and shocked at the TRUTH! Of course, now I AM that old Aunt that I used to recognize at the parties!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
I am finding myself in a very particular phase of my life. I like to consider this the SANDWICH ERA. I still feel very attached, involved and emotionally responsible for my own kids while I also feel extremely attached, involved and emotionally responsible for my Mother. (My Father has already passed away.)
Everyday my Mother enters a more and more foggy state of her Alzheimer’s. I find myself wondering where her mind is and what her thoughts are. I can see her blue eyes mentally traveling to an unknown place. If I talk to her, she comes down from her own world and recognizes me. I avoid asking her questions that I know she can’t answer and will only give her anxiety. When she cannot remember, I choose to talk only about simple things like the weather at the moment or whether she likes her food. In a way it is good for me because it is like joining her in that unknown place where I don’t have to think much either. I don’t know if she has ONE MORE day left on this planet or ONE LESS day on this planet. Although she lives two thousand miles away from me, her presence still feels as close as ever.
I am in pretty good health and the mental image I have of myself doesn’t match my actual chronological age. Thank GOD because I need myself together mentally and physically to face all that is happening in my life! I know one day I will be moving from the middle of the SANDWICH ERA and I will be on top of that SANDWICH. That’s not going to happen for a while (I hope). I still have a lot of shoes to indulge you with at my store.
What part of the SANDWICH ERA are you?
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