Leaving Home to Go Home?

Before this year I would never, ever have thought of leaving the United States. This is where I was born, and it’s the only country I’ve ever lived in, or considered home. But the events of the last two years–my mom’s illness, my pregnancy and childbirth, my father’s illness–have made me realize how very alone I am here, and also that the US is a very difficult country to grow old in or raise children in. Most of that is that the costs of home care or assisted living here are prohibitive, the costs of good childcare are equally prohibitive, and there isn’t much of a “village” to help each other out–at least, not where I live.

I am the only child of two elderly parents, both of whom have cancer. It is a stab in the gut to say this, but it’s likely that I will not have my father for much longer. I’m not very connected to our US extended family, as most of them are in India and the ones in the US are far away. A lot of the US members of my family have gotten heavily involved in a religious organization that influences all aspects of their life. Since I am not particularly religious, let alone a member of this socio-religious organization, it is hard to connect to them. Also, all of my cousins have multiple siblings. And even though people in my family talk a lot about how cousins are equivalent to sisters or brothers, there is a huge difference. (Of course there is; you either grow up in the same house, or you don’t–I certainly don’t expect anyone to feel close to me, when we have only seen each other a handful of times in our lives.)

It’s been very hard, raising my baby alone. I had thought my parents would be able to help a little, but my dad’s health crisis came weeks after my baby’s birth. My husband began residency and is gone from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, sometimes later. He keeps saying we should send the baby to his family in India for some time if I can’t handle her–his family is well-to-do and has a household staff, and I am sure she would be well cared for. I am physically and emotionally exhausted and sending the baby to her grandparents for a while sounds awfully tempting. But literally everybody I have floated the idea past has told me that a prolonged separation from me would be very traumatic for the baby and should be only the last of last resorts.

I am tired. I long to have an extended family, to belong, to have some moral and emotional support. I don’t have that in the United States, and I don’t see any way of getting it.

Maybe it’s time to go “home.”

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5 thoughts on “Leaving Home to Go Home?

  1. The Presents of Presence July 22, 2014 / 5:15 pm

    I don’t know the right answer, but I will send you heartfelt, healing hugs as I imagine that the position you are currently in is very difficult on so many levels and I hope that in knowing there is someone who is thinking of you with special prayers for peace may comfort you and give you the strength needed to continue to do your best every day. ♥

  2. sunrainlilies July 22, 2014 / 5:55 pm

    Thank you for your kindness, misifusa. Both your blog and your comments on mine are indeed very healing. I appreciate you stopping by and taking the time to write, and to think of me. It does give me strength.

  3. JanB July 29, 2014 / 7:13 pm

    I don’t have an answer for you. But family does not have to be blood, although it makes it easier if it is. I do have extended family and had much help when my children were younger. Now that I’m old and have lymphoma, I have found myself connecting with other people at the treatment centers and just in different ways. Maybe connect with those cousins with the deep religious convictions (unless of course, it is a cult). You may get some peace from that. Sending you strength and internet hugs and hoping you find your way. But think about it, it would be sad to leave this country and go home and then find it is not what you expected. Hoping you find the love and support you need, whether it be from family or friends. Take care.

  4. sunrainlilies July 30, 2014 / 3:21 am

    Jan, thank you so, so much for the comment. Hugs and best wishes as you deal with your lymphoma, and thank you for e-connecting to me here. You are so right that were I to leave the US, I might well come to find that the feeling of displacement and loneliness was within my own self, and that it just followed me halfway around the world to somewhere I didn’t have air conditioning. 🙂 There is no escaping from ourselves.

    My cousins’ socio-religious organization is not a cult, exactly–thankfully. Actually there’s nothing at all sinister about the activities–social service, reading and interpreting scriptures, etc. etc. However there is very much a type of mentality that “we must marry within the organization” and “all our friends must be within the organization” and “we must be promoted within the organization” and “our self-esteem depends on the organization.” It’s enough to make me nervous.

    That said, when my dad fell ill, these cousins were the first to rush across the country to help.

    Again wishing you the best. Are you blogging or writing on a cancer forum? I would love to hear your story.

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