Facing Reality - Aging Parents, Aging Children
Friday, December 30, 2022 by Cindy Sproles

www.pixabay.comFacing reality is hard. Mostly because it shoves all we believe about our well-built personal bubble straight into the sharp point of a pin. When facing the realities of the care of an aging parent hits, it drives home their personal situation, and then it hits us in the gut. Suddenly we realize our own mortality, and that is frightening.

Baby boomers were raised in a time when mom’s stayed home to raise their children. Their pride and joy were their families and caring for them. They were raised in a time when shoes were passed down, and biscuits and gravy were sometimes the only meal they had three times a day. There didn’t seem to be a happy medium between the two. Where our grandmothers were loving and fun, hard work and self-sufficiency were their primary focus. Our baby boomer mommas wanted more than hardship and doing without for their kids, so perhaps their focus was too much on giving to us over enforcing the standards of hard work. Then came the age of convenience where the helicopter parents not only care for their children but have lessened discipline, allowing children to decide what is best for their lives before they understand consequences or right and wrong, or giving into pleasing rather than teaching you to work to earn, not expect or demand to be given. Reality!

Our family cares for our mom. Though she lives in an assisted living, we are very proactive in her care. She doesn’t have much, but her meager savings has allowed her to remain as independent as possible at age 96. Though her health is stellar, we have begun to see the marks of age slipping in – her memory is fuzzy about things years ago, like songs she taught our Girl Scout troop. Her posture isn’t straight anymore. Instead, she walks a little humped over and becomes somewhat snippy when things aren’t done in her timeframe. Still, we are fortunate that mom is in great health – fortunate to still enjoy her. 

The reality of mom at 96 years old is that we realize her days are numbered. She realizes that. Some of her have come around the realization that none of us are immortal, which is shocking. Our first realization was signing the papers for the sale of her home. Though it was not the home my brother and I were raised in, it was mom’s home. Finalizing the sale of her property stung. Next was paring down her possessions and realizing, what most children realize, that as far as possessions go, there was very little we found a personal attachment to, which stung. Shouldn’t we have a desire for keepsakes? Some, yes, but the bulk, no. That was a gut punch, too, and a realization my brother and I decided would not be something our children would be left to deal with – purge now, so they don’t have this guilt of choosing. Give them the things they can enjoy now.

Finally, as we enjoy these last years with our mother, we are faced with our own aging process. Letting go of the earthly, clinging to the eternal, and hoping somewhere along the way, we’ve instilled that same priority in our children. None of us can cheat death, and we’ve learned it’s far better to end life in harmony with those we love rather than leave a legacy of anger, hurt, and unforgiveness. Mom once said regret is an ugly bedfellow, and truer words couldn’t have been shared. Make amends – no past hurt is worth the regret. Perhaps this just becomes clearer with age, yet, still, it is a vital moment to contend with and take to heart.

www.pixaby.comEach of us faces the hourglass of time with the sands slowly draining. Make every moment count with your aging parent. Be active with them, even if it’s hard. Seek the joy in them, the guidance they hold, and the treasures of their life experiences. It will be something you never regret.

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Linda Sammaritan From Indiana At 12/31/2022 8:34:24 PM

We are slowly going through this process as well. Sometimes all that downsizing gets humorous. Mom convinced me to haul the dining room suite across six states, I loved it so was happy to do it. Later, she wanted it back. "Where will you put it?" I asked. She looked around. Case closed!

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

It is a process. It seems the more I pare down my own things the more they multiply!

Barbara Latta From Georgia At 12/31/2022 2:59:26 PM

Your words are so true, Cindy. We have faced these same situations in the past years with our parents who are now all gone. You are blessed to still have your mother with you. Watching our parents age does give us the realization that we have a limited time on this earth.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

It certainly does. I've learned to cherish even the hard moments with her.

Diane From AL At 12/31/2022 12:16:38 PM

Cindy, such a truth in this blog. Relinquishment became my word as my gracious brother and I cared for mom and dad

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

It's difficult when the roles reverse. We're so accustomed to our parents being there for us...when the roles flip, it's an entirely new process.

Jessica Brodie From Lexington, SC At 12/31/2022 10:51:51 AM

Such truth here. Thank you! What hit me especially is the notion of paring down our possessions now, passing on now. Enjoy and share rather than hoarding. When my grandma sold her home in my late 20s, I really got that message loud and clear. Thank you so much for the excellent reminder.

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

I felt guilty because I didn't want mom's bedroom suit. I have one and no place for a different one. Instead, I took things that held great meaning. Last year for Christmas, I gave all my boys their baby photos. I wanted them to enjoy them now.

Susan Snodgrass From Clover, SC At 12/31/2022 8:52:33 AM

I have been there. It is not a pleasant journey. But I like to think of my mama, peering over the gate in Glory, watching for me. Your mama is beautiful!

Reply by: Cindy Sproles

Awww...what a sweet picture.

Mountain Breeze Writer

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