Out of anybody’s comfort zone

There are two (or more, but I’m sticking with binary here) reasons to go out of your comfort zone.

Mostly, we think of it in terms of growth, stretching your limits, expanding your horizons, overcoming obstacles. Things that are hard, but things that you choose so that you can end up where you want to go.

Then there’s the other way to leave your comfort zone – because you have no choice. Millions of people, right now, this minute, have been driven out of their comfort zones, by disease, by war, by poverty – my personal departure from comfort is a pretty minor one, really.

But it’s still unpleasant, even if it is a cliche: I’m becoming my mother’s mother, lost skill by lost skill. Her latest bit of slippage is especially unsettling because, in my family, it was always made very clear that my parents’ finances were Absolutely. None. Of. My. Business. And now I’m paying her bills and keeping her checking account balanced.

Monday, I’ll be getting her income tax done. Last year, I didn’t even have to think about her taxes. I don’t like it in this new world; she doesn’t like it here; we don’t have any way to go back.

(By the way: do you have grown children? Let them know where you keep your records and what your sources of income are. Now, while you remember. Don’t wait till it’s an emergency that you can’t help them with.)

It’s not that I object to helping her (though I finally realized that helping her is why I suddenly have so little free time). But it’s so painful to see a person who has always been responsible and independent become unable to cope.

Out of the comfort zone.

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10 responses to “Out of anybody’s comfort zone

  1. beverleysmith36

    Now that’s a hard one to be doing. My Mum and Dad are still able to handle their day to day things but sometimes i wish i could do more for them. My Mum says that if dad goes before her then she would need to live in some kind of care facility because she wouldn’t have us looking after and she wouldn’t be able to cope on her own. It would be a hard decision to make but i know it would be what she wanted. She often talks about where their papers are and what they want to happen and when. It’s a difficult conversation to have but i just listen and let her talk.

    • Well…God bless your Mum for thinking ahead. I know it’s hard to talk about, but believe me not having any plans is worse. 😦

      • beverleysmith36

        Sadly my niece died in a car accident 8th Dec 2009 so we all talk about death these days. I think we all know what each other wants and don’t want these days.

      • I am so very sorry. We lost my daughter in law the same way in 2000. It’s hard beyond words when a young person dies suddenly.

  2. Wise words and beautifully succinctly written. My Dad suffered from dementia before he passed away and it’s terribly sad to deal with.
    Please make sure you are also taking care of yourself. My thoughts are with you.

    • Thank you! Yes, it’s heartbreaking.

      I’m doing what I can to take care of myself. Fortunately, I have good friends and (closer) family – my husband, my son – to remind me.

  3. What a strange place it is for you, isn’t it? Now you are in charge of the money – and all those years of shielding you from bank statements, total income, money owed … and for what?
    Both my parents died years ago but I learned from them to keep my finances in one place and let my children know where to look in case they need to step in for me. I have my will made out and especially my “Living Will” so they don’t have to face life and death decisions without my input.

    Thanks for writing about this and for sharing your own experiences with us.

  4. Oh bless you and thank heavens you are there to help.

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