No one told me that adulting would be so damn hard nor was I prepared for it. In fact, my parents and all of the other elders in my life hid harsh realities that I’m now dealing with. Frankly, I’m kinda pissed.
I didn’t know that being the eldest child, through no choice of my own, means that I am the heir to hosting holidays. It also makes me the official bearer of bad news to my siblings. Additionally, it’s my job to keep relatives up-to-date on family happenings. Oh, and I get to take care of the difficult tasks like supervising or at least checking my parents’ care when they’re ill. And, I anticipate that someday, I’ll plan their funerals and have to speak despite the grief I’ll be feeling.
If that isn’t bad enough, I realize no one taught me about money; how to manage it or grow it beyond opening a 401k, paying my taxes and balancing my bank account. I didn’t learn about interest rates, credit scores, wills or trusts, or investment accounts. If I’d known more about how to save money, grow it and manage it sooner, I might’ve been able to provide myself and my parents with a more comfortable present and future existence. At the very least I would’ve been able to sock away enough cash to cover the growing medical bills from the treatment of my autoimmune disease and my parents’ hospital stays and treatments.
However, I suppose the money wouldn’t have been necessary if I’d been taught how to better care for my health. I appreciate that my parents made doctors appointments and took good care of me when I was young. But they didn’t tell me how to find a doctor, advocate for myself or even leave a doctor who wasn’t helping me. I didn’t know about writing out a living will or creating a health proxy until I was in desperate need of one. And, as a single person, I didn’t know that I needed a power of attorney to allow someone to access my account to pay my bills when I was unable to do so.
I suspect I wasn’t taught these things about adulting because no one taught my parents so the cycle continued.
I’m learning as I go and it’s hard. Yet, I’m most upset that my parents didn’t tell me how to cope watching your aging parent getting sicker, face death and possibly leave you. I’m not sure how to get through work when it’s all I think about? How do I stay strong when there’s a knot in my throat every time the phone rings, or when my dreams are haunted by thoughts of their passing? What do I do when my heart aches when I stand by and watch them, unable to help? I know they did it. My grandparents are gone. But, they didn’t tell me how hard this part of adulting would be and how to get through it.
#adulting #grief #growingup #cancersucks #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #disability #autoimmunedisease #spoonie #igg4 #agingparents