We have attended both extended family gatherings recently, my niece’s wedding and his aunt’s 70th birthday party. These events presented us with opportunities to discuss our plans first hand with siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles etc. They had all heard the outline of our schemes through the jungle drums. Everyone or everyone who commented, seemed to be quite impressed almost envious, I think we have been sewing a few more seeds, hopefully of plans and not discontent.
It was rather unfortunate that one of his cousins has admirably decided to give up a career as a sound engineer to train in my profession as a mature student and I had to inform him that I was giving it up, much to his dismay. I emphasised that I had been doing it for 30 years and that it was the politics with which I was disillusioned not the clinical work so hopefully I haven’t put him off physiotherapy completely. It seemed a little strange to think that we may not be able to attend these functions in the future if we are on the other side of the world with insufficient funds to return or tied to a job which doesn’t provide holidays or which we would prefer not to forfeit. Chalet staff are paid in lieu of leave to supplement our meagre income, the principle benefits are all in kind.
I do suspect that our respective responsible siblings will not be overly happy with potentially being left with the possible burden of ailing parents, although the grandchildren are growing into responsible adults (!) We have had some direct experience recently as my father was in hospital for 7 weeks during a period of my own incapacitation but has improved now. This brought home some reality about the future when we would not be on hand immediately but still like to think that we could abandon what we were doing at any time in an emergency. We have tried to emphasize that we will not be all that far away in time at least although possibly by miles, but it does take a long time to travel by car from one end of this country to the other, more time than it takes to fly across Europe. We do not anticipate being incommunicado intentionally and will possibly have better communications abroad than now as we will have faster wifi in our chalet than we do at home where we also have to endure pretty pathetic mobile signals currently in our respective abodes.
He is investigating our personal IT provision as we are unsure of what other means of communication will be available, as well as our own requirements. We need to devise our method of contact with the family as currently it is usually via landline although they have both improved their mobile phone familiarity with Dad’s hospitalisation. My parents do have Skype from when some of their grandchildren opted to decamp to the other side of the planet and their first great grandchild arrived into the world in New Zealand but we will need to reiterate its operating procedure, several times I suspect. We were not planning to take mobile phones with us although may need to have at least a basic one to arrange Skype calls. I’m not sure how we could manage without them ourselves, its not that long ago that they became such a universal attachment but feel sure that we can be weaned. His recent note to my parents mentioned putting birthday money towards a tablet – my Mother’s only experience of this is as a delicious, extremely sweet piece of Scottish confectionary, loosely related to fudge, for which we have one of the best recipes north of Hadrian’s Wall; some select pieces may even find their way onto our guests’ table to be served with after dinner coffee in our chalet as a unique contribution to the prescribed menu!
These conversations also precipitated the discussion about Power of Attorney both for our parents and each other. I have this responsibility for my parents and they are rightly concerned about my availability. I have tried to reassure them that we would return at any time if required so I would be available but didn’t want to dissuade them from changing to another, but as they rightly pointed out, my siblings tend to be in various corners of the globe quite randomly as well so who would be a better alternative?