So I have arrived at that point in my life so beautifully described by Robert Frost in his glorious poem The Road Not Taken. I have come to where two roads diverged in the wood and I have chosen the one less traveled by, a decision I neither ever thought I would make nor take lightly now that I have made it.
As a lifelong resident of the east coast and a person who is a New Yorker by birth and, even though I have lived in New Jersey for many years now, a person who will always be a New Yorker in my heart and soul, I will be leaving my home and everything I have known to head across the country to a new city, a new state, a new way of life. I am a charter member of that sandwich generation that cares for our parents and our children simultaneously and what I am doing and why is because of that.
If you are someone who is blessed to have one or both of your parents, you know that eventually, inevitably the role of parent and child is turned on its head and we begin to parent our parents. Aging can be a cruel process where your mind, your heart, your core tell you “yes, I can” but the realities and the frailties of our bodies cannot be ignored. And my mother, a very healthy 85-year-old woman, all things considered, needs not to be alone any longer.
For years, my sister and her husband have tried to convince first my parents together and then my Mom alone after my Dad left us to move closer to them. They wanted to participate in her care, to help share in the process and to spend more time with her at a time in all of our lives where the days speed by and the years seem to go even faster. And, truth be told, the past more-than-a-few years have not been kind ones to me for many reasons, each accompanied by a story I am tired of telling and the outcome of which doesn’t change no matter how often I recount it. The opportunity to do for my mother what she has done for me, for my sisters, for my great kid and niece and nephew all of our lives as well as to turn the page in the story of my life, to start a new chapter which may have that happy ending I’m still looking for was impossible to resist.
So we’ve sold our homes, are purging, sorting, donating, repurposing and packing our pared down belongings and will be headed to our new adventure in a few weeks. Life will be different for sure where I’m headed but I like to think I can and will adapt and grow and flourish in this new garden I’m planting myself in.
Most of the people I’ve shared my news with have been incredibly kind and happy for me. Even though they’ll miss me, they are genuinely supportive of this and want what is best for me. Others are surprised at my decision and view it through the prism of their experiences and I understand that but cannot let it factor into my hopes, dreams, excitement, challenges or – ultimately – belief that what I do and why I’m doing it and what it will mean for my family and me is right.
So many of you I know on social media are people who have befriended me or reached out to me because of some mutual friend or connection or some other commonality. And that I am part of that large social media community means I will never truly lose touch with anyone. All of you who have agreed (or disagreed) with things I’ve posted, who have supported my writings, who have stepped up with a kind word or thought or prayer, who have sent me private messages of comfort and professed public support are woven forever into the fabric of my life and I will never, ever not be grateful to you.
So please wish me well, know I am a mere keystroke away, believe that I won’t be gone forever and trust that I know how blessed I am to be surrounded by so many good people in my life. Until we meet again, thank you all.