It can be strange and uncomfortable when we suddenly find ourselves having to take responsibility for our parents. These people, often, took care of us when we were tiny, taught us most of what we needed to know about the world, made decisions about where we lived, our education and our health. They helped us through teenage difficulties and gave advice (which we might or might not have taken) when we were launched on the world as young adults. The reality of beginning to make decisions about their care, their health and even their financial affairs is a shock even if we know it is likely to happen.
Every family’s situation is different. I have come across so many varied circumstances. Children, siblings, nieces and nephews may all be called to take on responsibilities and decisions, sometimes formally, sometimes less so. The weight of responsibility is usually heavy as no-one wants this. The fact that our elderly relatives need such help is sad, and the fact that we are the people called on to provide it reminds us that we are now real grown-ups. There is no-one else to turn to, no-one to tell us if we are getting it right … Read More »
How do you feel about Christmas? Do you love it? Look forward to the togetherness, the food, the decorations and music? Perhaps you even enjoy the preparations and present buying. If you do, that’s really wonderful. But it’s not quite that easy for some of us.
I enjoyed Christmas for many years. As a child, I loved the decorations, the lights on the tree, the excitement of presents and waking up to the lumpy stocking on the end of my bed. When I grew up and had a home of my own, I enjoyed decorating it and planning the day, buying and preparing food.
Somewhere in my 40s, however, the excitement died. A difficult home life meant that several Christmases were marred by arguments and pain. Both of my grandfathers died in December, and both of their funerals were held, on different years, on the day before Christmas Eve. Eventually, the weight of sadness became too much and I fell out of love with Christmas. All the jollity felt false; I could only see the commercialisation and the pressure on women (particularly) to make the day itself impossibly perfect. For several years, I dreaded the festive season and just looked forward … Read More »