It's all about perspective.
You know how I said I had lunch with a friend on Monday and her family stories make my life look like a piece of cake? Well, I just got off the phone with a completely different friend who is dealing with even more grief than the aforementioned friend, and it really, really, really brought things into perspective for me.
I'm just at that age where I need to start worrying about my parents' health. What is going to happen twenty years from now when all the Baby Boomers are in their 80s and they are stricken with Alzheimer's and dementia and because of the economy they don't have the money to pay for private nursing care and their families can't (or won't) take them in? Who is going to shelter and feed these people?
Will the asylum culture rise again? Will we need to build large facilities where we can park these people who have mental conditions but because of the miracles of modern medicine, physically they are as strong as horses and just won't die? What happens when the mind gives out but the body lives on? I seriously need to sit my parents down and go through some preparation with them now.
My parents don't have a lot. I expect to receive exactly nothing from them when they die. They are hard working, honest blue collar folks who spent their lives raising four children. That's what they have to show for their life's work. But let me tell you this - I will fight to shelter and protect the few things they do have. The way I see it, they are owed health care in their old age, and they shouldn't have to sell their last possession to get that handout. They have paid taxes for years and now they deserve to get that money back in the form of free nursing home health care if that's what they need.