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Hard Choices

In my younger years, it never occurred to me that at 50 years of age I would become a Caretaker. Who would have guessed that my strapping Marine husband and parents who always looked and acted 10 years younger than their peers, would all begin to fall apart when I was still full of spit and vinegar? And yet... as I look back on my life, I realize that the Universe was preparing me all along for just this time in my life.

When you are a Caretaker, you have to make Hard Choices: very Hard Choices.

In the past few months, two of my dear nephews have gotten married in states far away from Montana. In another lifetime, I would have moved mountains to be there with them to celebrate their special day. (I truly hope they both know this in their hearts and souls.) There are no words for how my heart ached to have to say from the very first mention of a week of travel (for why spend that kind of money and effort, if you do not at least spend a week away?) that sorry, but there was no way I could pull a trip off, at this point in time.

Too many times I have had to send grandchildren home--grandchildren that will never again be that small or that anxious or thrilled to spend time at Nani and Grandpa's house--due to someone else I love needing care when they got sick or hurt. Too often have I had to make the choice to stay put when invited on a trip to Mexico or Tennessee or Washington DC. Too many times have I had to tell people I love that right now we cannot have many Hard Choices...

Of course, I feel terribly angry at the Universe, for forcing the World Traveler in me to be so solidly grounded in time and place. I cannot say how many times I have harbored resentment towards these people I love so much, because I have had to choose them over me and something I really wanted to do. Of course, when this happens, I am too grumpy to th

ese people I love and watch over. I cannot say how many times I have screamed on the inside; how many times I have cried in the shower. I constantly find myself angry at myself for my attitude. I have to pull myself aside and tell myself that it is inherent in our humanity that we say, "Why me?", or "When will it be my turn?". I have to continually give myself a break...

But these two people, my husband and my mother, are two of the Best People I have encountered in my lifetime. They have given so much for so little in return. They (no doubt) have had their "Why me?" and "When will it be my turn?' moments in their lifetimes. But, ungrudgingly, they stood up to the challenges their lives put in front of them. I do not care for them because I want to be seen as a Martyr. I care for them because the Universe had chosen this to be what I do.

And so, I will continue to make Hard Choices.

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