Although this photo is not of my mother it certainly captures the aura surrounding her of late. Two years ago when I wrote the article below I had no idea how profound it would eventually ring. We change as we age, on many levels. Sometimes we don’t have much control over those changes. Reverse engineering the physical stuff is a snap compared to rewinding the mental and emotional changes that plague people like my parents each day. Predictions are risky, brazen – I just wish I hadn’t been so “spot on”.
Two years prior . . .
For a woman who has been on this earth for 87 years, my Mom is amazing! Both her sense of fashion and her sense of humor are in nearly impeccable form. She loves to dance, garden, micro manage my step-dad, (which he mostly ignores), and teach their recently acquired puppy how NOT to behave properly.
That’s when all is going well—including both of them. When my Mother fell in her garden last Mother’s Day and broke her arm, we saw a glimpse of what might be trouble on the horizon. First of all she wasn’t upset about Best Pop Albums downloads the pain in her arm, she was angry that it was her right arm and she couldn’t continue her agrarian habits. OK—I get that! But immediately after her surgery to insert the proper hardware the trouble started.
After days of no appetite, the onslaught of SCUD missiles coming out of her mouth, (replacing formerly witty rhetoric), and the attitudinal transformation of this spry, “young” 87 year old into this creepy, faux 100 year old, fire breathing granny was frightening. We had a suspicion; she had been possessed by demons—call the priest!
Turns out the diagnosis of just about anything sounded better than a repeat of Rosemary’s Baby—(we thought). We knew ingesting food was a critical part of both her survival and ours. After many gentle attempts at nutrition coercion, my sister personally delivered her dinner. Sis served her plate and told her she was not leaving the table until she belonged to the “clean plate club”. Oh the flash backs—and the flashes forward.
As our parents age, we glimpse our own childhoods. Give them help– but not too much help, give them direction–but not too much direction, give them love—oh yes, all the love we can possibly muster up. Aging is not easy! All involved need patience, understanding, information, empathy and many times counsel.
Sadly, just like at their first birthday party, as they celebrate the final one, they may survey the room and have only one clear thought. “Who ARE these people and what the hell are they doing here?”
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