Aging Not-So-Gracefully

Aging-Gracefully

Wed., Mar. 29, 2017

Proverbs 16:31 – Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is found on the path of righteousness.

Getting older isn’t for wussies.

A short five years ago, Rick and I often commented how fortunate we were to have all four of our parents alive. We expected things could change any minute. And they did. During one November week, both of my parents were in the hospital (at different times) and my mother-in-law was also hospitalized. A few weeks later, I watched my Dad quietly slipped away one January morning. Ten months later, Rick’s Mom passed away with much of her family present. A year-and-a-half later, Rick took off of work to stay with his Dad one night. Rick was with him when he passed away in the afternoon.

Our remaining surviving parent is my Mom. Since my Dad’s death, she has changed physically and mentally. While she wants to will her body to be able to do things she did 10 years ago, it is not able to. Dementia overtook her Mom, my Grandmother, the last number of years of her life. Unfortunately, it is also becoming a part of my Mom’s medical history, much to her denial.

It is not easy to move from child into the more parental role with a parent. Rick and I have tried to respect our parents while keeping them safe and healthy. Especially with Rick’s parents, we’ve made it a priority to make things work as they desired. We organized our lives, jobs and sleeping arrangements amongst other things to try and uphold their wishes. In trying to honor our fathers and our mothers, sometimes we were more gracious than others.

I cannot count the number of times Rick and I have questioned whether we will age graciously. Will we remember to be more accepting of other’s suggestions when the time comes? Will we be open? Will we negotiate gracefully? Only time will tell.

In the last number of years, I have gained a deeper appreciation for those who work with our more mature population on a daily basis.  While no two situations are ever the same, today, I see those struggling with declining spouses from a different perspective. At times, maybe I can bring the child’s perspective to light in a discussion … because I’ve been that child. And sometimes, I just need to listen: to an aging person, a spouse, my Mom, as well as those who have accepted the role of being a caregiver. Neither the aging person nor those providing care can be wussies.

During the last six months of my mother-in-law’s life, I had the great opportunity to provide regular care for her. It had to be hard for her to basically let me take over many of the things she had been responsible for decades. What Ersel taught me was a graciousness that I pray I embody; now and in the future. On those days I forget this graciousness, I pray the Spirit will remind me.

Holy God: please forgive me for the times I’ve been short, self-centered and unwilling to budge when interacting with other people, especially those who bodies and minds are changing. Surround me with a cloud of graciousness. May you guide me and others to react and respond in ways pleasing in your sight. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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One Reply to “Aging Not-So-Gracefully”

  1. Diane, This blog hit home for me as well as Glenn. Thanks for your beautiful insight and reassuring words on these difficult life experiences. Diane

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