At this moment in time I have just scanned the web as I am just overwhelmed with the shear scale of emotional and physical support required of me to support my parents aged 81 and 80 years old, I have just put the telephone down at 10.00pm after my father has rung me saying he does not know what to do with my mother who is crying and in pain.
I am at 56 year of age, just being able to enjoy life after working hard but being pulled back again and again, more and more to help my parents.
Its has been so hard to show love for the both of them now, when they both so desperately need it and I have to forgive and forget all the years that went before when all I needed was a cuddle from them. I know I sound selfish and just at the moment I feel sorry for myself, I want to go to France, I want to go visit my friend in Spain, but the responsibility and guilt holds me back. Why oh why is there not a brother or sister I could as least talk to about the situation, somebody to say “hey now its your turn”. I have a great husband, he has a sister and brother and they are all very close, his parents are both passed now and I desperately miss his father, he understood me so well and my situation with my parents. When he passed we all pulled together as a family looking after his wife until she was living in a residential home and later died. But somehow nobody knows how solitary I feel even with my family around me, all the ghosts of my childhood are still there, no matter how I love and have brought up my own daughters and step sons. To be an only child, especially when you are older and having the responsibility of your parents is terrible, it is always you that has to make the decisions, there is nobody else and coming to terms with that loneliness in all you decide makes you left feeling numb.
The internet is full of helpful tips for parents bringing up ‘only children’, but nothing for ‘only children’ coping with parents – it appears to me that parents who have an ‘only child’ seem to have their own issues long before they start a family and this affects their decision in having just one child and I am sure now, after talking to other ‘only children’ of my age, that it is not the child that has the problems, but the parents! –
One other small point, it is strange that the two dearest and most supportive friends that I have are both ‘only children’ it is almost as if nobody else can possibly understand the crazy guilty feelings we cope with inside our souls!