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When Aging Parents Were Merely Thoughts

When I was young, I would often think about my future and what would come of it.  I envisioned the usual life events of a prominent career, marriage, nieces, nephews, trips abroad, and domestic. But nothing is utopia all the time, not even my thoughts. Especially any that would suffocate my mind about my parents one day being fragile and aging. Knowing their youthful appearance and energy would give way to walkers and canes.

I wasn’t the only one who carried the melancholy of such vivid imagery. My siblings were too. As we would move through life, we would occasionally discuss how we should care for our aging parents. And, what it means to be ready when those future days happen.

My parents are the center of my universe. They gave me life and never held me back. Though overprotective, what else would you expect from southern small town parents. Their support has always been noticeable. I’ve always been concerned about their life, especially after my siblings and I were grown and on to our own life.

My brothers and sister would often conversate about life, its essence, and what each of us would like to experience as we move through the decades. Time passes quickly when you’re creating the life you want. Meanwhile, we grew up and left our parents nest, as they were continuing to create their life without us. Grand kids born, birthdays celebrated, holidays, deaths mourned, and then one day we looked up from our lives and realized our visions about our parents getting old, were reality.

Time Passes And Lays Its Hands On Each Of Us In Different Ways

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James Gleick once wrote, “We go back and forth between being time’s master and its victim.”

 In my twenties, I was a consumed by my mental conversations with myself. In my forties, I’m a tool to my reality. And, so is everyone else. Thoughts, time, and reality presses on me and I on it, but it has also done the same to my family. No amount of time could have prepared me for my emotional journey of caring for aging parents. Not directly caring for them but having to check in and ensure that I don’t need to take a flight home or drive and stay a week because they are sickly. Being far from home doesn’t ease anything.

Everything becomes a battle with time.  It only seems like yesterday that my parents were taking care of me and checking up on me, if I miss curfew. I say this with great experience and shrewdness, that I don’t care how financially ready you are, nothing is like watching a parent’s health diminish. Nothing is like watching time do her God given duty.

Aging Parents Are A Gift

The hardest part of growing up is realizing that your parents or parent are growing old.
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I’m learning that to be old and wise is a gift. And to be aging, well, that means you’re still alive. My parents are no exception and they do it with grace and little complaint. My mom has a bold attitude when something happens to her. I smile when she says, “it is what it is”. She lives by her faith, and that gives me hope and comfort. Though, sometimes I worry that she maybe in so much pain, that her statement, is more from the angle that life is hard and I’m ready when GOD is ready.

My parents have been victorious over their illnesses, and they’ve witness some of those same illnesses take the lives of family and friend.

Honestly, I am grateful for my parents physical and mental maturation. It’s scary when they experience sickness due to getting older or DNA kicking in, its been educational. I offer hope to those going through this to those they are experiencing the maturation or deterioration of their parent help. You must plan early for caring for your parent or parents. It may seem that the day will never come. I promise you it will.

Family And Planning

What ever it takes to ensure my parents, family are above the fray is what drives me. I’m overjoyed that I’m not alone with feeling this way. I’m grateful for my five siblings. It makes it easy for each of us to participate and have a role in caring for mom and dad. Honestly, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t consider my parents growing older when I choice my career path.

Flexibility in my career, education, and even my financial structure was all by design, to move freely and easily for my family. What I offer to families on planning for the care of parent, later in life or earlier, create flexibility in your life. Create financial stability and erect a career without borders or minimal borders. More importantly, if you are a only child, make sure you have stable and reliable family and friends you can depend on.

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