No Tears

The cell phone connection was breaking up. She kept calling my name and inquiring if I was still on the other end of the line, then she handed the phone to my Dad. I could hear them very clearly but I guess they weren’t able to hear a single thing I said. Then I heard my Dad say to my Mom, “She must be crying”. I kept shouting, as best I could from my cubicle at work, that I wasn’t crying. I kept saying hello, but they didn’t hear me, they were convinced I was in tears.

I wasn’t in tears then. I am not quick to tears. The only times I remember shedding any tears are those when I am enraged beyond belief. My anger manifests itself in tears but crying due to an innate sadness, that I cannot recollect. When my parents thought I wasn’t speaking on the phone because I was crying, I was quite calm. What I was trying to scream and tell them was that this was a better option, that they would be happier now because their previous situation was not much different from hell. But that is a message I never got to convey. The connection broke up.

It has been over an hour since I had that conversation and it is still echoing inside. All I have done all morning is replay it in my head. The hurt that was being expressed by my parents was immense and my powers to appease, non-existent. I am separated by 400 long miles, by choices, decisions, circumstances in my life and theirs. I have ideas of what would constitute an ideal situation but I cannot find enough support for my ideas. There wouldn’t be a happier person than me if my parents were to come and live with me. But they would never agree to spend more than a couple of months at a stretch with me out of consideration for my own in-laws who they probably still mistakenly believe, have a greater right to be in my home than they do, the other more practical reason being the affordability of healthcare in Canada versus the US.

My in-laws are not in the best of shape either and my husband is their only son. My father-in-law has a heart condition and my mother-in-law has a cornucopia of ailments. But they are not homeless in a foreign land. They have a place they call home that is fairly near to both their children and all their grandchildren. They might want to draw parallels between my parents’ situation and their own but, even though both situations are grim, to my mind one is certainly more dire than the other.

The time has come for us to find the best way to ensure adequate comfort levels for our parents as they live out their 6th decade and approach their 7th, 8th and 9th decades. I am extremely concerned and although I wasn’t crying when they thought I was crying before, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling the tears of frustration and desperation welling up now.

But tears are never useful. Now more than ever, the advice about living each day as it comes, becomes more meaningful. Each day will bring new emergencies and new contingencies; the only thing we can count on is our own preparedness. Tears only serve to cloud judgment.


  1. Batten down the hatches…there's work to be done. I know what you mean.

  2. I am misty eyed as I read this.I shall pray for you and your parents and hope something works out for all.

  3. Just hang on and NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER CRY, you are the pillar of strength to some people…

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