My role, like many of the sandwich generation, has changed over the years. I have gone from being daughter, to wife and mother to caretaker of my parents. It is a journey that has many rocky paths, and the way is not always pleasant.

My father passed away last July  after a short but devastating illness that took him way too soon. My mother, the day after he died, suffered from the first of her four minor strokes that has left her debilitated and forever changed. As the baby of the family, I have been tasked (blessed) with caring for her in her twilight years.  She was in Indiana at the time and the first order of business was to obtain a Durable Power of Attorney. Then, she was put on a plane to her new home in Arizona. She had lived here for many years, as  an elementary school teacher, and she has always loved it here. It was a natural choice to bring her back to the mountains and the desert that she called home for so many years, but it is not without challenges.

There is no manual or book that prepares you for this dramatic change in everyone’s lives. My mother has changed, and it doesn’t take long for that to become painfully obvious. I am still coming to terms with that new normal.

Meanwhile, life goes on and the issues will have to be resolved by me on her behalf. I can’t go the people that used to give me advice because they are either no longer here or they are the ones that I am taking care of now. It is up to me to be the best advocate for my loved ones and to take care of myself in the process. it is going to be a long journey home for both of us.