Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dealing with an aging parent . . .

Yesterday was a hard day for me.  My sister and I took my  mother to the doctor for one of her annual checkups.  She is 84 years old, lives in a nice retirement center, eats well, has everything she needs . . . but, she does not like being old.  She is not one of those women who grow old gracefully!  She has kicked and screamed the whole way, letting us all know that,  "growing old is not for sissies, and she does not like it!!"

I took this picture of her the day that we moved her out of  her house, into the retirement center - she looks like she was holding on to Caleb for dear life!  I think that she knew that life as she knew it, along with her independence was going fast. 

I was talking to my sister last night as she reminded me that my mother grew old quickly - suddenly, and out of nowhere.  She was young and vibrant one day, and old the next.  How does this happen?   She was a widow at an early age, I think she was only 54 years old when my father passed away.  She remarried 8 years later, and was a widow again after only 10 years of marriage.  She is a strong woman, and does not like to show her vulnerabilities, and hates to wear her hearing aids!

I know that, like all of us, she has good memories, many that are foggy and some that haunt her.   She remembers the things in her life that happened long ago, but has trouble with recent memories.  She has regrets and sorrows for things that might have been, and things that will never be.  She has good memories of friends and family;  some who are still living, and some who are long gone, but still vivid in her mind.  She remembers the good times, but also remembers the bad times, and still tries to make them right.  Like all mothers, she still wants to make life better for each of us, and would give anything to go back and do things over.  She loves us, and still thinks of us as children, not adults.  She's a mom.

This poem reminds me so much of my mother - I know that these are her thoughts:

Thoughts Of You
By Paula Stone
Memories of another time still come
To me and fill my mind, with thoughts
Of you when you were young. I lie awake
‘Till the morning sun comes creeping
Through my window shade, as I dwell upon
Mistakes I've made. What I would give to
Go back in time and feel you’re little
Hand in mine. To cherish each fast and
Fleeting day. To hold you close and kiss
Away, each pain that life will have in
Store and try to give you so much more.
You are part of me,  and will always be, imbedded in the soul of me. 
While I'm here, I want to say, that I've loved you
Each and every day and when my time on
Earth is gone, the privilege was mine to have been your Mom.

Hugs . . .


  1. Bless you Barb...I do know all too well about this aging parent phase of life...It is difficult to see their life changing, especially when it comes to their mind and the things that they no longer can remember...
    Even though it might be difficult for us, I think about how they must feel...no longer able to do things that they have done all their life. And, not to remember those that they have loved for a lifetime...
    We just have to give it to the Lord and wait for Him to help us through...
    Hugs Barb..

  2. What a beautiful poem! I understand perfectly, being a mom myself, those precious children will always be my little ones no matter how old they are.

    My mom is turning 75 this month. I think I have more trouble with her aging than she does. She seems to enjoy the "perks" of being a senior citizen, but it's hard for me to see her as a little old lady when my memories of her are of a young beautiful woman. Then again, I look at my youngest son, now 12 years old and almost my height, and I wonder how it's possible that just a decade ago he was a toddler and now he's a preteen! King Solomon was right when he said, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven." (Eccl. 3:1). If we live each season for the Lord and for others, we will honor Him and all of those around us.

    God bless!

  3. It's difficult to see your mom aging, but my mom died in her mid 70's and it just felt like she was being taken away too soon. I'm sorry to hear she is having a difficult time. I pray for peace for her and for you.

  4. Oh my gosh, I am going to have a headache from tears again. This was so heartfelt and sweet. I loved the poem and I know you probably feel like I do that I would have like to have done some things different. My mom felt the very same way.
    It was a very hard thing to watch my parents age. My mother was still asking me to buy her some make-up 3 weeks before she passed. She wasn't even able to go out of the house. Just enjoy the moments! Love to you!!

  5. Dear Barb, I am so touched by your thoughts tonight, and will place your mom on my prayer list. I am so blessed and thankful that my mom is having great health, but relate to what you have spoken about as my dh's mother went through the same feelings and we felt so helpless in knowing how to help her. She was such a dear lady, but often spoke of the past and would have wished to have changed things too. I am so glad that you and your sister have each other for support, and that you both continue to have precious times with your mom.
    Sending much love,

  6. Oh Barb, this made me cry, for all of us moms understand this poem only too well. If you're like me, you didn't understand your mom until you had children of your own. You cannot fathom the love of a mother and how she wants to be perfect for her children. And no matter how hard she tries, she'll always feel like she wasn't good enough. I'm glad that your mom has you and your sister to care for her now. It's hard as I watch my parents aging, too, and know that someday probably soon, that they, too, will begin to fade away. It's sad, but it's part of life and we can't keep them forever. Just like we can't keep our kids little forever. Sweet, sweet poem. Spend as much time with your mom as you can. That's what I'm trying to do with my mom and dad. Thanks for sharing this...God bless you and your family.

  7. Hi Barb, this is such a touching post. I understand what you are facing with an aging parent. My own mother died before she was 60, but my dad lived to be 91. I'm so sorry that your mother is having a difficult time now. Just visit her as often as you can and tell her how much she is loved.

    I think all mothers think that they could have done certain things better and maybe have a few regrets. I would reassure your mother that you have a happy life. Let her know that she did the best she could and that everything turned out fine. Maybe parents talk the way they do when they are growing older because they are seeking reassurance that they were good parents and are loved.

    I love the poem and am going to copy it to Notepad to share with my own children some day. Thanks for sharing!

    Hugs and love,

  8. Very hard. I have a next door neighbor in her 80's that has chosen to be lonely. Granted, she's not easy to get along with. Her own children have rejected her and that's sad. So she just stays in her house. She won't go to a church, any church, and won't socilize and mostly just complains about everything in her life.

    I am terrified that I will end up like that. For that reason I have chosen to be more active. I recently joined DUP because it gives me one more place to be involved and go to. I go to a gym every day but Sunday. I try to keep doing "something". I have a that is like that. All he does is sit in the house and hate everybody and 'bitch'. To put it mildly.

    I made a decision since I last saw him. I have pledged to myself every morning to enjoy the coming day more and spend it being happier than he is or ever will be.

    I didn't have to take care of my dad as there was a wonderful neighbor who stepped in and took on that job. I could never have done what she did. But I sure went through all the emotions of having an aging parent with diapers and I certainly had to endure all of the trouble it caused around him with siblings. My two brothers (IF and Boise) wouldn't lift a finger to help or even visit him in Twin and I sit here a thousand miles away and at made a trip at LEAST once a year to see drive up and see him.

    So hard.

    Families! Sometimes I'd like to chop up that sign that says Families Are Forever. :)

  9. It so happens that today I am opening an old print to use the frame for a sketch done of my children when they were small. I think, if you don't mind my borrowing this, that I'll enclose this poem inside. It touches me deeply.

    And your words about your mother are so insightful. Old age is not for sissies nor is life itself for that matter. We are told to be of good courage because He has overcome the world. Comforting words. She is very blessed to have loving daughters and you are blessed to have a mom who adores you. Rich blessings to you all...

  10. Thank you for your insights on this subject. I am somewhere in the realm of similar experience with you. You have a sweet gentleness in your perspective that is good for me to read. Thank you!

  11. Hi Barb,
    Your mother and mine were cut from the same cloth. Reading this entry brings back so many memories for me. Some good and some not so good.

    God bless you and your Mom as you travel this road in the aging process. Your Mom is lucky to have 2 loving daughters and together you will support each other.

    Love the poem. So insightful. Hope it's ok if I copy it. Hugz!!

  12. This made me cry! Grandma is such a wonderful woman and hs accomplished so many good things in her life. I can't imagine how hard it is to get to the point where you don't feel or act like yourself. You and Karen are the BEST daughters!!!! Growing old is much eaier when you know you are loved and cared about!!

  13. Barb, it is so difficult to deal with an unhappy elderly family member. May God grant you extra patience. I absolutely LOVE that poem!


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