I didn’t move far enough away — that was my biggest mistake.
That, and not getting a sex change…
No, it is first about what member of the family will actually sort through the incredibly byzantine and deadening options—or lack of options.
It is at this point that I became unreasonably mad at my Maui brother. In a way I understood the basis of his excuse: It was not a coincidence that he was living in Maui—his twenty years in paradise were in part an exercise of the modern right to distance himself from his family, a point which he was militantly maintaining now. He lived in Maui precisely to be far from all this. It was notable that among the people with whom I shared my tales-of-mother crisis, many, with far-flung ailing parents, identified themselves as the Maui brother. Of all things to escape, this might be the big one. And, too, in my Maui brother’s defense, all responsibility is relative: If he was doing less than I was doing, I was doing by a significant leap less than my sister was doing.
It is among the most reductive facts in this story: Women take care of the old. They can’t shake it because they are left with it. In the end, it is a game of musical chairs. The girl is the one almost invariably caught out. (…)
I do not know how death panels ever got such a bad name. Perhaps they should have been called deliverance panels. What I would not do for a fair-minded body to whom I might plead for my mother’s end.
The alternative is nuts: to look forward to paying trillions and to bankrupting the nation as well as our souls as we endure the suffering of our parents and our inability to help them get where they’re going.
The single greatest pressure on health care is the disproportionate resources devoted to the elderly, to not just the old, but to the old old, and yet no one says what all old children of old parents know: This is not just wrongheaded but steals the life from everyone involved.