During last week’s blog within “Carol-Ann’s Top 10 Caregiver Lessons”, I reminded myself to share a little story related to resisting the endless recitation of worn-out aging parent tales. It feels like a fitting start to today’s post about why we need to see through our folks’ transitions with aplomb.
In 1992, my mother lovingly crafted and gifted me with a hand-written booklet about her childhood through to high school. Almost three decades of birthdays later, I finally read it cover-to-cover this summer. What a revelation! Checkered as our mother-daughter history was, I have so much more appreciation for the woman who gave me life.
Who Are You, Really?
You’ve long followed me on social media. You know I spent vast portions of 52 years in deep anger toward my mother because of how her paranoid schizophrenia affected me growing up. Am I suddenly doing a flip switch by suggesting that how you comport yourself during your parents’ final chapters speaks volumes about you? No, in that I perfectly get why you wish to wash your hands. Yes, in that part of my stance has slowly shifted since her passing in 2010.
The Importance of Dignity
Time is rapidly waning for the irresponsible brother and/or sister who shirks involvement at every turn. Elders born in the 1920’s and 1930’s are rapidly transitioning. Narcissists are about to receive a rude shock. You who are reading know it! After all, you’re The One foisted with duty even if you have 12 siblings! My radio show, “The Conscious Caregiver”, is about to take direct aim at avoiders. It’s called Coping with Un-cope-able Siblings. Stay tuned.
Caregiving as a Healing Opportunity
Bottom-line, the death of a parent has no do-overs. Despite my disgust, I willingly spoke a eulogy for Mommy while Daddy witnessed in the front row. I am proud of myself for enacting that final opportunity to demonstrate respect and embody courage, strength plus grace. Despite the pitifully small crowd gathered, huge chunks of hurt and sadness virtually came flying off me. Seeing things through with dignity was a tremendous unrepeatable healing.
To learn more about my ADVOCACY Model, please add to your cart my book called Coping with Un-cope-able Systems: ADVOCACY for Eldercare. You can find it at https://www.copingwithuncopeableparents.com/shop. The “D” chapter stands for Decency and perfectly bespeaks what we have been saying today.
Mind you, just because you see things through with aplomb doesn’t necessarily translate to life becoming immediately ‘better’ as one or both parents pass away. Find out why next time.