I was on a short trip to India from USA for about 2 weeks in Feb .I do these trips every year to meet my mom who is 82 yrs old. She is pictured above with her best friends dad who is 101, in her native village of Tanjore, in Tamil Nadu , India . In the second picture she is posing outside her ancestral home , which is 130 plus years old. She was excited like a child to see the streets she played on with her friends and it brought back all the child in her. She explained to my brothers,my niece and myself the great times she had with her siblings and all the stories of a bygone era…
Every year prior to the visit I get highly excited about meeting her and plan all the things I could do to make her happy. But as soon as the trip starts and it is time for me to return to my adopted country the emotional turmoil starts…. Every visit makes me realize how frail she looks and I just do not have the heart to leave her and come 😦
As my mother gets older and reaches an age where she needs more help and emotional support , I am confronted with a challenge that most of us living abroad far away face – how to juggle our responsibility towards our parents, with the many demands of our own families.The underlying emotional conflict is something that is indescribable.
My moms problem is compounded by the fact that my eldest brother is physically disabled and hence she is bound to stay in India with him and my other brother. Even though it would be easy to get a Green card to the USA for her through me ,it is almost impossible for my physically disabled brother to cross the hurdles of immigration due to the sibling rules for Green card. So therefore technically it a double burden for my other brother .He has two people to take care of and frustations do add up .I wish I could do something to ease the burden …
As a good son or daughter, we are bound by our culture to perform a role that we may or may not want to . I had noticed in the case of my mom who lives with her two sons ( who are also aging ) that she prefered sharing her little secrets,philosophies etc with me the daughter rather than my brothers and their families. They do treat her well. Yet there are times when she is made to feel that she is burden and they cannot have a social life of their own due to various reasons and circumstances.
I believe that if we can somehow shift our own perspective on the problem and stop seeing the care-taking of old parents as a burden, we may be able to deal with it more effectively and with less anxiety- is what I always tell my brother…..
My goal is here is merely to share my own individual dilemma of balancing my own needs with those of my mother.I realize that adopting a new perspective and creating workable arrangements are much easier said than done.