Not too long ago, author Ariel Gore found herself facing the problems of the sandwich generation. This phenomenon refers to a position more and more middle-aged Americans find themselves in — sandwiched between caring for aging parents and raising children. In her new memoir The End of Eve, Ariel chronicles the often thankless role of caregiver with honesty, humility, and humor. The book begins with her elderly mother Eve’s diagnosis with Stage IV lung cancer.
Eve is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Ariel writes that her mother was banned from all the major cab companies in Portland for reasons that remain unknown. (Eve chalks it up to the drivers and their “Unbelievable ego problems.”) Shortly after her diagnosis, Eve, Ariel, Ariel’s partner, and their young son relocate to Santa Fe, New Mexico. In a moment of reflection, Ariel writes,
“Just a few months earlier, in Portland, I’d had what I always imagined I wanted: A partner and a home of my own, work in my chosen field, [my daughter] Maia making her way to an undergraduate degree. Some kind of an all in the list of checkmarked boxes I called life. I thought of my Gammie, and the way she’d pour herself a nice, tall vodka tonic whenever she saw my mother enter a room and sip her drink and whisper under her breath, ‘If there isn’t chaos, there soon will be.’”
As she takes on increasing responsibilities as a caregiver, Ariel gets more chaos than even she expected.
Have you read The End of Eve, Ariel Gore’s other work, or her magazine, Hip Mama? Are you a part of the sandwich generation? What’s your experience as a caregiver?
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OPB | April 16, 2015