My husband was fishing on a lake 60 miles away the day my mother died. As soon as I found out I called him wailing, “You have to come home Mum is dead!” Still in shock, I called all of my siblings. By the time my husband got home I’d gathered all the items I thought I might need, including the business checkbook so I could issue payroll checks for the people who worked with us. Payday was the following day. I wrote checks at 3 in the morning at Mum’s dining room table. In the following weeks my brother broke his neck and became completely paralyzed from the neck down. I spent hours and hours at his bedside for the 4 months that he was in the hospital. During that time my work did not suffer, the household chores were done, my mother’s estate was reconciled and her house sold without delay. I’m not honking my horn because I am not an anomaly. There is nothing special about me.
At that time, one of my dearest friends was also working her full time job as an anesthetist, driving 1200 miles every other weekend to care for her mother with cancer, her dad with Parkinson’s, and her brother who has a chronic illness that will eventually kill him. She found time to trundle up Hippy Hill to bring me an ice cream cake because she thought I needed it. Her mom has since died and her dad is declining with each day that passes, her brother’s illness is erratic and he has suffered some setbacks. Still she rallies and perseveres no matter what.
But wait! There’s more.
I have another friend who nursed her husband through ravaging pancreatic cancer while she simultaneously cared for her debilitated parents who moved in with her, ferrying all three of them to appointments. She didn’t have a household, she had a hospital. Her husband died. Her parents are still with her. She’s a dear friend, a loving daughter, and a valued employee to the company she works with.
My women friends and I did not bleed our troubles to anyone who would listen, we had one or two friends who were privy to our concerns. We were only doing what needed to be done. I try not to generalize and issue discriminatory declarations but as hard as I try I cannot come up with one single man, I am personally acquainted with, who could manage such undertakings.