Let me tell you my story, I am 88 years old and I have a husband who is 98. We have been married and in love for 70 years.
We had a “Camelot” the entire married life. Both of us are Holocaust survivors and living in the great USA was a dream come true.
HOWEVER! The dream has ended. My dear husband is old. Not seriously sick, but the parts are worn out. Can’t walk anymore, can’t talk anymore, can’t hear anymore, can’t eat anymore and of course some memories issues. Since we are so old, most of our friends are dead and the younger ones do not want to do anything with us.
Nice picture so far? We have children, grandchildren, great grandchildren but they all live at some distance and have their own lives.
I am young! I take care of how I dress, how I smell but sometimes the loneliness gets to me. I hate to complain for I know what a pain it is for the receiver. It hurts me tremendously that I can’t visit my little ones and that the family I created and raised is not with me. Yes, I also get depressed, but I seeked medical help and in spite of that it is so so hard. No one to talk to, no one to visit, no one calls, no one comes.
Life is incredibly difficult when one is old, have understanding , pity, and perhaps you who is in all you mental powers can find a solution to make the late years of your parents better. A little gift, a little surprise, a little visit from a loved one.
But to argue, complain, fight?
Ignore their complaints, lie to them, try to understand.
Compassion! Kindness! Love...
is it at all possible for you and your husband to move closer to family?
I am in my 50s and childless and I truly fear getting old after reading so many of the things here.
Perhaps the reason we can and do show compassion, kindness and love to our aging parents is because we can come here and vent to our hearts content and know that we're among friends and not judged.
I think a social forum would be a great resource for you, one with more upbeat interaction. You could come here when caring for hubby gets you down and then go there to talk about movies, books, and laugh. A good joke goes a long way! How about it forum folks - anyone have any suggestions for Fatalist?
I found your posting to be so touching. You have just as much of a right to express your feelings as any caregiver does. You are a lovely caregiver to your husband. I’m sure he loves you very much.
I appreciate hearing your insight on aging. I really do.
Your life story is truly inspirational. Congratulations on your long and loving marriage. Both of you are survivors and I thank God for that. It is wonderful that you were blessed with a beautiful family. I’m sorry none of them live near you.
I would be happy to listen to any feelings that you wish to express. I am sorry that you are experiencing loneliness. Isolation is awful. It’s understandable that you get depressed.
We can never have too many friends so I would welcome your online friendship. Feel free to private message me whenever you wish to chat about anything on your mind.
I wish you peace and joy in your remaining years. You certainly deserve it.
I do think about getting older. I turned 64 last month. My husband is 65. We have been married 41 years and he is the love of my life. We have two daughters.
Please share anything you’d like to. I’m sure we could all learn from your wisdom.
Take care and many, many hugs. God bless you and your beloved husband.
Have you thought about starting a blog about your experiences during the Holocaust and your wisdom and perspective for people today? It would be so valuable and I bet you'd connect with some amazing people. As I'm sure you know, a sense of purpose is essential to humans. I think writing a blog would get your family's attention (and respect) and be cathartic/therapeutic for you. Blessings!
Join Facebook if you are not already on it. My elderly mom loves it and it seems to be the only way her grandchildren keep in touch with her.
Contact your family and have them move you and hubby close to them, into a senior community. Preferably a community which has memory care or assisted living within the community in case your husband needs that. Do this asap. It won't be easy and yes, it will be a HUGE task for your family, but it will be worth it. You said your friends have all passed, so there does not seem to be anything holding you there.
It will be easiest if you mentally prepare yourself to get rid of almost everything you own.
Have you ever written about your experience? I have seen a few survivors who are connecting with the community and making new friends by sharing their horrific experiences with a generation that is being told it never happened.
Speak with the closest Jewish community center and ask for help, there are a lot of services offered by the Jewish family services that would be beneficial for you and your husband. You need not walk alone, you must ask for help.
I would love to hear your story of survival against all odds. My heart and spirit respond to the choosen people of The Most High.
now and have a difficult time wrapping my head around them. A mother carries a child under her heart for nine, not so easy months. Then there is labour and birth. I probably don’t have to elaborate on that one! After baby comes home there are many nights punctuated with crying, colic and you name it. The terrible twos happen and sometimes last a lot longer. Needless to say that there are measles, mumps, chicken pox, issues at school, colds, the flu, chauffeuring, attending events when possible, teenage years and their dramatic problems, education etc. Next, you are there for your children when they need you. You help with grandchildren. you are available when beckoned and the list goes on and on and on. All of a sudden, you adult children are too busy to care for Mom or Dad (who did his thing, often a lot, though away from the daily hands on routine at home). You are suddenly worried about giving up “YOUR LIFE” after a parent or parents raised you, supported you and were there for you for the best part of their lives. (Yes, I know some of you had lousy parents, or they are quite difficult to deal with right now). There may be people who have little debt to a parent who may have deserted, abused, or abandoned you. (My comments don’t apply to everyone). You will know who you are and what your level of responsibility should be in a “fair world”. Tossing parents around like volley balls or finding ways to warehouse them is so tragic. FAMILY should be forever, though thick and thin times. My Mother was sick for a long while before she passed. We lived out of the United States and when she was healthy, we frequently had her visit us in the BVI (for any length of time she desired). It was where we worked. When she was became ill, I left my life and stayed with her until she passed. My sister and I didn’t fight for time away from her, we argued about having more one on one time with her. We finally just became her support team together. It was painful to see her suffer but a privage to be there for her. What is happening to family? Mind you, this is not directed at everyone. I have Latino friends and friends from other ethnic cultures where family is still everything. I finish where I began. My heart aches for elderly people who are shut out or left alone and seemingly forgotten by life. Getting old isn’t easy. The irony is that all of the whinners who complain about caring for their parents will be in the same shoes one day. Take that as food for thought and look up the word KARMA. Sorry to be harsh but it is so sad to see and hear from those left behind because of age and infirmity. The holidays are coming and they, due to all of the commercial hype, are hardest for many.
For those who have complicated situations it just doesn’t work. Would be wonderful if everyone could have the fairytale ending but not all dreams come true.
When families have to live far way it’s hard too. Sometimes people have to move away to find employment.
So glad that you and your sister had a loving situation with your mom. You are blessed indeed.
At age 63, my family doesn't call, come to visit me. I have been shocked at how the "we're so busy' line gets used. 5 kids, I don't even speak with my son anymore, he is angry over something and has cut ties. When I think of all I sacrificed for this man--the endless giving and he decides at ago 40 he wants nothing to do with me--well, it's a knife in the heart.
You've had the love of a good man. Do you know how many of us would just die for an "I love you" from our husbands, who are so busy with whatever, they just ignore us?
I just finished chemo and hope to find I am clear, but I also made the decision a few weeks back that when/if the cancer returns, I am not doing a single thing to treat it. If my family doesn't care for/about me when I am desperately ill---I don't need them either.
I've chosen to remember the days when the kids were small and sweet and loved their mama. I can't change any of them, and I won't go "poor pititful me" (you're NOT doing that, BTW) on them.
It sounds like you have been blessed with a wonderful life--we all have ups downs and sidewises--you have a unique story to tell. I hope you tell it.
We complain about difficult parents b/c we can do that here----and no place else. I doubt you'd get a single 'complaint' from your family. You sound absolutely remarkable.
I appreciate your perspective.
I want to ask you how often you call the kids and grandkids? My Mum and former mil have the same complaint, no one calls, yet neither of them are willing to pick up the phone to call. My Dad has never called any of my kids, yet he calls his own friends daily.
When is the last time you went to visit the kids? My former mil would complain that we did not visit enough, yet it is much easier and less expensive for one person to travel than a family of 5. Add to that the time off work, the missed kids activities and the cost gets very high for a family, even for a weekend away. Now I understand your husband is frail, but respite care can help with that.
My former fil moved to the UK, only twice since he moved have I been able to afford to take the younger kids to see him. Once when they were 4 and 6 and again when they were 17 and 19. He made the effort to call once a month on a Sunday when he knew we would be home. I sent him monthly chatty emails and he would ask the kids about their activities when he called.
I am sorry that you are lonely. Are you engaged in your community? Do you keep up on the news, have a skill you can share etc?
One thing you should bear in mind is that almost all of us who post here are actually taking care of our elderly parents. And most of us do have sympathy for our parents' needs and problems. As you no doubt understand from reading here, taking care of a parent can be extremely stressful. It involves a lot of sacrifice, and our parents sometimes make the situation more difficult for us by making unreasonable demands, refusing to cooperate with our efforts to help them, being verbally abusive, or having insufficient regard for our own needs, preferences, goals, plans, etc.
I have complained on this forum as much as anyone and more than most, but I would never have left my mother to her own devices when I knew she needed help. We butted heads almost until the day she died, but that wasn't the whole relationship or even the biggest part of it.
You're in a difficult position. You're sad an lonely and limited in what you can do, but you're not in the kind of crisis situation that would get your family's attention. I suspect they may not understand how much you need them. I think everyone has been ticking along the same paths for so long that people don't realize that things have changed for you and your husband. I hope that you will reach out to them, and reach out to others too. After the lives you and your husband have lived, you deserve a loving and well-supported old age.
I’m appreciative of your response Tacy. Good to hear the other side. I am sorry for OP’s past history and it is good that she ended up in a better place.
Aging Care is a safe, supportive space for adult caregivers to discuss, vent or complain. Many posters had less than stellar childhoods. Many AC posters have difficult caregiving situations with little or no support from family and friends.
I was surprised to see to see a post like this OP’s. Every criticism she has of her children and grandchildren may be valid. But it remains that we know nothing of what their story would be. And for me, their side of the story would be every bit as important as Fatalist’s.
I understand your sadness that your family doesnt communicate more. I have a lovely friend in a similar situation. She keeps asking what she did wrong.
The answers to family dynamics questions are so hard, fraught with pitfalls and misunderstandings. My friend comes from a long history of dysfunction, replete with survivors, alcoholics and narcissism. There is no easy answer to why your kids don't keep in touch.
I second the idea to get on Facebook and see what they're doing so you can have a frame of reference when you talk to them.
Are you involved with any community groups near you?
We all have stories, and there are sides to each. We are privy here to only one side of the story, in most cases, so we are only able to respond to that side which we are told.
When parents and grandparents are loving and easygoing, the visits tend to be easier and more frequent for the children and the grandchildren. When parents and grandparents are complaining and bitter, the visits tend to be tougher and less frequent for the children and the grandchildren. True story, huh?
Personally, I feel that I've made my parents' lives better by helping get them get placed in a beautiful Assisted Living community where they had plenty of activities to enjoy, plenty of people to interact with so they weren't lonely, and lots of daily events to participate in that kept them vibrant & living longer lives than they would have had they lived by themselves. Of course, bringing them gifts and chocolates and beautiful clothing with jewelry was, and still is, something I choose to do for my mother on an ongoing basis. Their grandchildren visit when they're able, which was more frequent when their grandfather was alive, because he was a real pleasure to be around. Their grandmother, not so much. Yet they still visit, but not enough, to hear her tell it.
To hear them tell it, she complains constantly while they're there, telling them they haven't stayed long enough before they've even left. They find it stressful to visit, but that's their side of the story.
So, we all need to show compassion, kindness and love to one another in life, you're right about that. It's not a one way street where one party does all the taking and the other party does all the giving. Both sides must contribute in order to have a mutually enjoyable relationship.
I wish you all the best that life has to offer and I thank you for sharing your story.
i just lost a friendship of about 15 years because i just couldnt keep making excuses for her pitiful job performance . too much compromise -- too much giving -- too little receiving .
the woman wouldnt even reply to an email unless there was a hundred dollar bill being offered for about 50 bucks worth of household help . i was buying a friend and it began to cause me to lose respect for myself .
i s'pose the kicker was when i gifted her 450 bucks worth of loose change to help her out and later on that week she lost her sht because i gave someone else a gallon jar of morel mushrooms some of which she had found . the gifted mushrooms were going to an elderly grandmother who was absolutely ecstatic at such a windfall . this is noteworthy ; several times i gave the friend my find of mushrooms to take home because there wasnt an abundance for two people .
i dont need that crap . as far as a spouse ? i had one -- she was a serial cheater . i also dont need that crap .
sons ? the one i was closest to was shot and killed 3 years ago . the other has his own life 130 miles away .
so its just me and the squirrels and the deer . i try to refrain from chatting up the deer because they need to distrust humans in order to survive .
Having said all this...you sound like an exceptional individual that still has much knowledge and wisdom to share. Please consider doing some volunteer work, particularly with schools. We need our children to understand history, as more of the knowledge is slipping away into the basement of time every day... Please consider sharing yourself with other people.... Blessings to you!
Suggestions of local organisations to visit or join are easier said than done - unless have someone with you at least initially.
So many live alone, or with a spouse that needs a lot of care, so feel alone with decision making and companionship.
shops used to be a way of doing the necessary whilst having a chat with staff and other people - but staff contracts and turnover now means there are few that stay long or have the time to chat it seems,
i still remember taking dad to his local store the last time - not one person working there had the time or grace to even say hello to him - not often I do but had tears in my eyes looking at my dad trying to speak to staff who just walked away without even a smile.
When my aunt shortly followed by uncle died. I was so used to visiting them several times a week in their respective nursing homes that I kept forgetting and turning up. Rather than just turn round and go home - I went in and chatted to residents I knew didn’t get visits. Learnt about them and took little gifts. I make sure I have time to chat for a few minutes with anyone my age group upwards if necessary when shopping as I’m all too aware I may be the only person they have a conversation with that day. I smile - as much as possible - it’s surprising how many people don’t - yet a smile is free and infectious.
Why would anyone question her personal feelings and act like a call is the end of the world.
People get busy and we all know outta sight outta mind is all to common is this instant gratification world.
I for one have been encouraged to make an effort to reach out to all of my older friends and relatives just to say hi and I love you.
As I also have mentioned before, I volunteer with the local Sheriff's Department. There are so many things we can do. Things that may seem small but are so important. One of my girlfriends volunteers at the local hospital holding premature babies who are in withdrawals from drugs.
You have been blessed; maybe write letters to your grandchildren and share these memories. Leave your words with them as a timeless legacy...as you have done today. 🙏🏼
You have had an extremely mixed life, survival of hardship we cannot imagine, and amazing love with your husband. You have had 70 years of total understanding companionship - we cannot replace that. Even your family cannot replace that.
I understand that probably one day you will lose your husband, but before that time comes maybe it is time to think of moving from the house you have lived in, and finding somewhere that can care for you both as long as you are together and provide companionship with people who are in a similar position. You could move to be near family but they have the younger generations to look after, they will even though near have limited time, and their talk whilst you will be interested will not be easy to relate to. Perhaps some living in accommodation near to them so they could visit would be possible?
But I do understand making any move when one is older is very difficult both to comprehend how it can happen, and not wanting to leave memories.
I do not mean to insult you or reduce in any way everything you have done to survive horror and reach your age with your husband, but medicine is sometimes not doing us any favours as our bodies wear out, sometimes we live beyond what we would choose and with a lower quality of life. No one can tell you how to improve your life - we have ideas, but they are what we see from our age perspective, and what we would choose living when we do. Only you can decide what is best for you.
You do need to talk to your children - personally I would send them a copy of exactly what you wrote here. I hope they would make a little more effort, but they cannot solve your loneliness. I think that finding a group online more your own age would be something you could do as you clearly manage a computer well.
Like you, my grandmother lives a distance from family.She is in Florida and most of us are in Wisconsin.
My grandmother owns her own home in a manufactured senior community in Florida.She didn’t move there until she was 75, however it’s been a wonderful experience.At first she had a dog (who has since passed) and that helped her get out and meet people.From there she got involved in activities (Sewing, water aerobics, bocce ball).She feels her life is complete and she also comes once a year (by plane) to Wisconsin to visit family for about a month in the early fall.
It sounds like right now you may be a dealing with a few different things, and that you likely are a caretaker to your hubby. This probably adds a new layer to your life that you thought of, but weren’t completely expecting.Part of the loneliness might be from being a caretaker as it becomes consuming-both time wise and emotionally. If this is part of it; are you able to have a home care worker come visit once a week? This could do two things (1)allow you to get out a bit even if to take a walk, watch a movie, join a senior center (2) give you some company (I enjoy my mother-in-laws CNAs at her group home and feel they breathe some life into tough situations).
Also, have you started to plan what your next step in life will look like and how you will remain active and connected with family and meet new people should your dear husband pass? If you will move once this chapter has ended? If you could be closer to family but still remain living independently and what outside interests you will have? This may seem selfish to you to think about, but it will likely be something that you’ll need to coordinate and plan for...and planning may help to occupy your mind and bring comfort down the road.Also I’d share your ideas and thoughts with your family once you have a few options so they understand what your wishes are for the future and that you’re thinking long term about something they may not have wanted to bring up. I have these conversations with my grandma as to what will happen when she needs to move to somewhere with more help and it makes me feel connected and so proud of her that she embraces changes.it also brings me peace knowing when the time comes, the decisions were made by her and not us as with my Mother-In-Law (59) all of her decisions are made by us because she’s unable to care for herself (decision making/cognitively she’s about 6 years old-but remembers a life where she was independent)and she never seems happy with most of our choices, although we try to include her. The biggest challenge is her not accepting that she has to live somewhere with assistance given schizophrenia/bipolar/anxiety that leads to episodes, including long hospital
stays and catatonic states for weeks but it’s too much for our youngish (kids are 15, 2 and Newborn due 12/1) to take on based on her needs.
Just my two-cents :)
Very good points from a younger perspective and it is appreciated to hear how the adult grandchildren feel.
How wonderful that you both survived that black spot in human history and found each other for your Camelot time together.
I am very sorry your family members don't honor you both better.
Mine don't either, but I am blessed with neighbors and friends who do...at least for now. That will all change as we move into our 80s and beyond and the ravages of illnesses and the realities of death take hold more than they do now.
Hugs to all the elders here.