Patricia Weber has a heart felt story and message we can all relate to in some way. I know you love what she has to share. Take it away Patricia.
Growing up it was never a clear issue as to whether dad or mom initiated an argument. Do you remember your parents ever arguing? Usually my parents argued over work, or money, or something about one of us three sisters. Regardless of what we remember, if we are paying attention there are secrets to aging well for Baby Boomers from our aging parents.
Secrets to Aging Well for Baby Boomers from Our Aging Parents.
As the oldest sister in our lower middle class family, somehow I got lucky with my own room. It was a safe haven if there was some argument I couldn’t tolerate. But most times disagreements ended almost as soon as they started.
Staying in your head too often can close your heart. “Until you forgive, you are chained to that event and person,” is what the pastor at the church I most attend said at one service. As still happens in marriages today, one of my parents accused the other of infidelity, and life as we knew it was over.
Certainly infidelity is wrong by our society and standards. I personally don’t feel I can judge a situation that I don’t know everything detail about. People and life aren’t always going to be fair to us. And when it is your parents who betray each other, you want to believe both of them. This all happened early on when I got married, and the nightmare of it took a back seat to my wedded bliss. Over the years, the betrayed parent never forgave the other and stayed stuck in the misery of what happened. It made many things difficult for the three of us daughters. It takes more time and travel to visit both parents in different homes. Heaven forbid you might speak about the one parent to the other without having some questions come up. It’s even difficult to speak about emotional pain of theirs or yours.
When you help your beloved parents through the natural stages of aging, you enhance not only their life, but your own. The education you get as your parents age, may or may not be useful for you in your own time of need. There’s no real way to know because everything is changing. For my sisters and I it’s a love/hate situation with our parents, who are now 87 and 90, being with us. It’s love because they are still here with many loving moments to share. It’s hate because it is sad to watch them lose their sight, hearing, and mobility as the years take these things from them.
Note: Please don’t judge this love/hate sentiment until you have been a caregiver in this situation.
The transition to hearing loss with stubborn parents who refuse any hearing device for what they explain to be valid reasons can leave you frustrated. You yell, they say don’t yell; you speak normally, they say “What?” over and over again. What you quickly learn is to get close to their face and speak normally but slower. That’s what works for me. In addition to being your own health care advocate, some elderly need their older children to navigate the healthcare system for their care from Medicare to in-home aide care to even Medicaid. Being in a caregiver role in this task in particular is mentally, emotionally and physically exhausting. All of this is making ready a bright spot to open at the least expected time.
Being in your heart more can clear your head.
My youngest sister, who I call Wonder Woman, was visiting my mom who is in long term care, while at the same time, her son was visiting my dad who was in the short term rehabilitation of the same facility. Sis and my nephew met in the courtyard with mom and dad each in wheelchairs. At first, neither recognized the other.
My father was the first to ask, “Isn’t that your mom?” And my nephew confirmed it.
My mom with more advanced dementia would say to my sister over and over again for the first 90 minutes of a 2-hour visit, “That man looks like my ex-husband.” Each time my sister would answer the same way, “Yes, that’s because it is him.”
About 30 minutes or so into the visit, one of them just instinctively asked, “Would you like to hold hands? Come on, let’s hold hands.”
What? They hadn’t hardly smiled at each other in years. Both of them suffer from hearing loss. Could it be there was some spark? Whatever caused it, this was an incredibly bright spot moment. Was someone forgiven? Was there a glimmer of past love shining through? Was the perpetration forgotten? Maybe it was just living in the moment: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”
For certain it was one of the loveliest moments I can ever remember, if only by a flurry of photos within an hour of the event. Some of my lessons and secrets to aging well for Baby Boomers from aging parents:
- Life is moving and always changing. As we age it might be our ups, downs, disappointments, and happiness are more easily accepted. Or else we aren’t as sensitive to the certain downs and disappointments.
- Be more in the present. It is really all there is. Yesterday is over. Tomorrow is in the making. Be here right now.
- Act from your heart more than your head. While dementia has it’s numerous downsides, the betrayed parent had little choice other than to be in the moment. Either that or all that surfaced in their memory at that time was love. Our heart and head seem to work work better together.
- Don’t hold on to negativity too long. In one way, my parent’s late life moment of love makes me sad. But in another way it’s another lesson. I love the idea that if we let go, just let go of negativity, however that might be for us, we can let love in again, in even the smallest way.
What have you discovered is true as you age? Have you been fortunate to witness some aging wisdom from parents or even grandparents?
From Patricia Weber @patricia-weber.com as life’s journey continues…
If you enjoyed “Secrets to Aging Well for Baby Boomers from Our Aging Parents,” check out Baby Boomer Who Doesn’t Think Alternative Healing is Phony, Am I OLD Yet? and Gratitude and Blessings.