Mom has always been a light. She was the foundation of our family. Dad was bigger than life, gregarious, outgoing. Together they were a force of nature. They loved their lives, and after retirement had enjoyed a full, fulfilling life blessed with family, and friends, faith and fellowship.
I can’t really say that I woke up one day and my parents were old. It doesn’t happen that way. You’re busy with your life, raising your kids, going about your work, checking in from time to time. Your parents? Well they’re busy too. My Mom was always so busy you almost had to make an appointment to get on her schedule. My Dad was a community activist and on the golf course most days.
It was almost imperceptible at first, their aging. Nothing you can put your finger on. I think initially I noticed a lot of bickering back and forth between Mom and Dad. She complained about him, he complained about her – but the fact of the matter is that things about their lives were changing. They were the first to feel it.
As most of us know the situations that we deal with every day as children of aging parents almost always have a progression. I was blind until I was forced to face the issues of aging in my own family. It seems like we are always presented with an EVENT - some type of medical issue, a fall, an illness before we wake up and realize – “hey these people, these parents who have always taken care of us are not invincible.” We’re challenged as a family to have the vision to even conceive of what may be coming down the road.
You’re traveling down this road with your loved ones. At first the road is paved and it’s smooth sailing. Then you’ll see a road sign, “BUMPS AHEAD!” You think to yourself, “Bumps? I can handle bumps.” You handle the bumps and for a time things are fine. Then you see another sign, “LOOSE GRAVEL”, this is a little more concerning but you plow forward because you think the road may become smooth again, but it doesn’t. The signs just keep coming, more rapid in succession. “DANGEROUS CURVES!”, “FALLING ROCKS!”, and finally “DROPOFF!”
Herein lies the problem, the unwillingness to read the signs and then act accordingly. Even with all my training I ignored many of the signs with my own Mom because I wanted to hope for the best. Mom wasn’t taking care of herself, she began having falls, the road signs were coming at us fast and furious. The next 8 months were a blur. Like most families we tried to make the best of an undesirable situation.
It wasn’t until I went through this experience in my own family that I realized the magnitude of what we as families, children, and our seniors themselves are facing every day. It was at this point that I realized I have a passion for helping others who are walking down this road. I hope I can be a source of information, but also a source of strength, counsel, and compassion. Everyone needs that listening ear that without judgment can shine a light to show the way.
Together we can shine that light for each other.
I invite you to share your thoughts and experiences.
All the Best,