As we come out the other side of the rushed holiday season, I’ve been recently reminded how stressful the elder marathon can be. For caregivers, I so appreciate December as one of their busiest times of year. May everyone have prevailed!
Last time, I touched the iceberg tip of a very complex subject: “taking away” the car keys. We learned never to use such language when dealing with truly Un-cope-able Parents. My Dad secretly realized he was no longer at the top of his game. He just wouldn’t admit it directly, as that would have blown his stellar-driver cover.
Do you find daily parental calls skyrocketing?
Today’s post concerns multiple calls per day. Like me, more than one friend in my circles is starting to find their parent phoning on average 10 to 15 times per day. It matters none whether that’s at work or bedtime on the heels of an exceptionally-long day.
In my case, my father increasingly dialed at 5:30 a.m., firmly convinced it was 5:30 p.m. He couldn’t possibly wait to speak until our daily afternoon phone schedule.
Rather, he just “had to” say what was on his mind in the moment. During that period, it felt every bit like an impatient tot barking from the car’s back seat every few seconds: “Are we there yet?”
Want to know what that behavior is really about?
Now on the other side of my intense annoyance over being awakened at all hours of the morning and night, I since figured out what was really going on.
My father was afraid he would forget if he was forced to wait!
Believe me I made tons of attempts at getting him to write down what he wanted to say in preparation for our hour-long dialogues (and I’m not exaggerating the length!). I would further ask him to write down key points so he would remember what we discussed.
How well do you think that worked? Not! Sometimes, he’d write down important information during a chat but never beforehand.
Here’s an insight.
That’s because his decline was rapidly escalating. What would have been perfectly natural for an organized school principal at the height of his career was altogether too much as his transition approached.
As a result of that realization, I’m here to tell you this. No matter your relationship – good or poor – with your parents, you will need to grieve the loss of who they once were.