When people climb Mt. Everest, they cross at least 20 crevasses using ladder bridges. Sometimes, several ladders are lashed together to form one long bridge, dipping in the middle, secured on either end to a moving glacier. One climber has described the ladders as anything but horizontal; as hikers gingerly navigate the uneven rungs, the whole structure wobbles.
Ladder bridges is why I won’t ever climb Mt. Everest. That, and the whole no-oxygen thing.
But this shaky ladder is how I picture my friends and family. We are the rungs, secured together by love and memories. Together, we get to the other side of the crevasse—each surgery, each hospital stay, each test result.
As we face individual challenges, the ladder might shake, but we disperse the load. When my dad is ill, he depends on my mom; my mom leans on me; and I turn to my husband.
My hubby is indispensable to me. He forgives me when I’m distracted, or rude, or fall asleep on the couch at night after hours at the hospital. He listens to my rants, even the ugly ones about guilt and exasperation. When he hugs me, I believe, for a moment anyway, I can handle anything.
My parents have been married 55 years, and I’m only part of their story. They met in high school and went to college. They stood up in friends’ weddings and took their own honeymoon. They fixed up a tiny yellow house that supposedly had a friendly ghost. They got promotions at work and travelled the world. Together.
They say the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Knowing that they won’t always be together is like an avalanche, and I hope the bridge holds.
BrightStar Care is honored to feature Leah’s unique story, an experience shared by many adult children as their parents grow older and caregiving roles begin to reverse. Follow Leah’s journey here.
All names, including the author’s, have been changed to protect identities, and Leah has no affiliation with BrightStar Care.