Tuesday, November 19, 2013

More Thoughts On Aging

  They came, two brothers from far away parts of the country, to check on their aging parents. They found them side by side lying in their bed - undernourished and very sick. After EMS and talking to strange doctors and filling out miles of forms, they looked at each other and knew it was time to make the decision for them. Living on their own was no longer an option.

Three other brothers consulted and the work of finding a place began. It was done with care and love. That was the easy part. Telling parents of a life-changing decision made on their behalf - that was far more difficult. Weakness made it easier. There are times when even those things we least desire are what is best.

So we all came to help in the transition. Out of the hospital and into a strange, new place where the grounds were perfectly landscaped, dinner in the dining room required a jacket, and a nursing home stood at the ready. A lovely place where entertainment came to visit and games and crafts filled the afternoons, should one choose to participate.

Twice a year we gathered to spend time with them. It was a comfort to know they were so well taken care of. It was a comfort to see how neat and clean it all was. But there was something missing. I looked for it every time we came, but rarely did I find it.

Youth was a rare commodity in that pristine place. All the faces were beautiful, with that etching only time can create. But it seemed wrong to see all of a kind - with no variation. We were not meant to be so.

 The beauty of those elderly faces is enhanced and illuminated when placed alongside the unlined faces of young men and women, little boys and girls, tiny babies cradled against wrinkled cheeks.

I walked those velvety smooth grounds for a few years, first beside my aging in-laws and then behind the wheelchair of only one and felt the emptiness.


This is my Mom. Grandmother and Great-grandmother surrounded by those who love her deeply, in her home. "Show us how to spin Grandma!" And she did.


a joyful noise said...

Oh yes, those are difficult choices and the absence of children is a reality. Bringing children to visit is a help. My mother was needfully placed in one of these homes, and she did enjoy the grandchilren who came to visit.

eph2810 said...

Powerful message, Linda. It is so hard to be apart from your loved ones. Elderly people love the young ones around. It keeps their mind fresh and it makes them smile.

S. Etole said...

One of the things I missed when we lived in a city was that the whole neighborhood was a similar age group with similarly aged children. Here the generations all are together.

diana said...

You are so right on with this piece, Linda! Yes, the choice had to be made - safety and comfort and availability of care are tops on the list. But right behind all of that is LIFE, real life as we live it in each generation. It's tough. The younger families have so much less discretionary time, it's hard to get there and visit. My husband's former denomination did a very wise thing when they built their large, 3-stage retirement community: they added a pre-school on the campus.

Linda said...

That was a brilliant idea Diana. Whenever they have lunches for the seniors and nursing home folks at my parents' church they bring the pre-school children in to visit and sing. My Mom and Dad just love that time!

Linda said...

Thank you Iris! I absolutely agree.

Linda said...

So much better that way Susie!

Linda said...

It is sometimes needful, and I believe those days may be in our family's future, but those visits are so important.
Thanks so much for visiting Hazel.

Teena said...

You touch me deep. Growing older sure reveals things doesn't it. My dad's generation is almost all gone now. It is so strange... that we step into that next step and our older children step into ours. No grands yet but I keep praying. Thanks for sharing your heart. Love you

Teena said...

I read once where someone shared about separating children and the elderly. It was said they both need each other so.... the elderly need the energy and the young need the wisdom!! Much much love