parenting our parents…

Mom has The Crud and took a tumble the other night.  We’re also awaiting word on how to fix her way.too.high platelet count.

ThankFULLy, the tumble wasn’t as bad as it could have been. And, hopefully, The Crud will run its course – far, far away.

We expected to see Mom’s hematologist/oncologist today about some molecular test he recently ran.  Since she didn’t feel well enough for that, we’ll see him next week.

handsAll this reminds me that so many of us are in a position we never expected – parenting our parents.

So many of my friends are, have, and/or will guide their parents along paths they never imagined. It sucks. It’s also an honor and beyond holy. I am beyond grateful that Mom knows who she is, who I am, and what’s happening.

As I write this, I have the back door to Mom’s “Senior Independent Living Apartment” open, hoping to bring the inside temp below 79.  The breeze is healing – on so many levels.  Mom is napping.  She looks content. I just talked with her doc.  He’s adorable, wise, and consoling.  He.Gets.It. I am grateFULL.

And I’d love to know about the these same kinds of holy moments you’ve spent with your own beloved.

13 thoughts on “parenting our parents…

  1. Hmmmm This afternoon dropped Mom off at my house (where she now lives, much to her displeasure, and to be completely honest, also to mine) and went on for a manicure and pedicure, something I have not taken time to do for more than 18 months. I came home to find her in a total meltdown, that she was ‘irritating’ and I should take her back to Bath NY to live in Senior center (where she absolutely refused to consider going) and my only reason for having her here was because I didn’t want to have a reputation as being a BAD DAUGHTER. Yikes! So we had another ‘talk’ even though I am pretty sure she may well forget it within the next 24 hours. This is not a fun phase to go through, but you do what you do because it is the right thing to do–not because you don’t want a ‘bad rep’ (despite the long years of kindness of those many people she will never see again, and you will see once more, at her funeral), but as Cordelia says in King Lear “according to my bond.” This is my duty. No, it is not often my pleasure, I am maybe ashamed to say. But I can’t imagine doing any other than what I am doing. I am sure I WILL miss her when she is gone. I am also sure that I prize every single minute of peaceful solitude I get, and they are few and far between.

  2. Yes, I miss my mom. She changed into a bitter women before she died. My dad is 81; alive and kicking. He got involved with another gal shortly after my mom died and has been with her for almost four years. Her husband died before my mom and all of them knew each other. My mom told me that my dad would find someone to live with or whatever. They now reside in Spearfish, SD in the summer and have recently bought a home in Surprise, Arizona in a gated community called “Traditions:. There are the ups and downs and different blends of families. I really don’t know how to feel. Like this lady a lot. They do all the things my mom could not because of pain and illness. But….still feels weird and until people walk in your shoes they do not understand.

  3. Lisa, as usual, you have touched a place in my soul that needed to be touched. I vow, from this moment on, to remember that I am parenting my mother. She can make me feel nuts, mad, crazy, frustrated, happy, content, and loved — all within 15 minutes. I have parented two other humans in my lifetime, and they make me run the same gamut of emotions. Parenting my offspring is holy and so should parenting my parent be. Bless you…..

  4. Thank you to all who have shared here. I will share a little of my experience. I moved my mom into our house six years ago, and she wasn’t happy about leaving her own home, which I understood. Things went well until she fell (almost exactly four years ago today!) and broke her neck. It was a miserable time for us all. She had been the most delightful mother ever, but her pain and discomfort turned her into someone else. I kept reminding myself that she didn’t like her situation either! She did not want to go to a nursing home, so I agreed to bring her home and nurse her the best I could. I asked her forgiveness in advance, as I expected to lose patience at some point. Towards the end, she lost track of time and didn’t realize I had been “on duty” for 36 straight hours, and I did lose my temper. I hope she forgave me. My dear husband took over and let me sleep for six hours. Her last four weeks were not pleasant, and I developed this theory: God was preparing me to be willing to let her go. I surely didn’t want to keep her here suffering. I felt guilty for this, but I think it made it easier to say goodbye, and thanks for being the best mom ever. God bless all of you who still have your mothers. God bless your mothers too!

  5. To me…for many reasons….this is your best blog post ever. And I know it’s because I know so much of the background. But this is just so well stated, Lisa. I so honor you for the incredible heart you have….and show. Not just to your mom, but to all. Your blessing and heart have wonderful ripple waves. Thank you for that.

  6. I so appreciate all the incredible responses to your post, Lisa. Breaks my heart to read each of them, and WARMS my heart to see how wonderful people are with such difficult circumstances. All responses are so well stated, and so from the heart. How wonderful our minds are that we…eventually….let the good times override the bad. And we remember love more than we remember pain.

  7. Lisa, I agree with Tom, this is the best blog ever, and so heartwarming. It brings back wonderful, and painful memories of my incredibly supportive mom.
    Watching the last month of her life was quite painful,and at the same time, I was so grateful to be back in Atlanta that last month.
    My mom was such a vibrant and independent woman and to watch her these last few months before she passed away was quite challenging for all of us. She was not only a fabulous mom, but one of the best grandmothers ever.
    I clearly remember her asking us to make a cream cheese and jelly sandwich for her one afternoon. It was quite endearing to me, as that was one of her favorite things to make her three daughters.
    Lisa, my heart is with you at this time, as I know Mom is so lucky to have you there.

  8. Lisa, you are such a blessing to your Mom. I didn’t have a chance to take care of my Mama but would have been honored to do so. You have just touched me with your words. I will hold you in my heart and prayers.

  9. Lovely Lisa…SO THINKING of you and your Mama!!! Parenting a parent is when the whole world is turned upside down. Truly. Mama shows me each and every single day how I should strive to be: kind, grateful, faithful. She is one remarkable woman, and every day / night / hour / minute in her presence is truly a blessing. Last night, Mama and I danced to Benny Goodman & Artie Shaw & Tommy Dorsey in a chair-based Zumba workout. It was awesome. Wish you could have seen her beautiful face – she had so much fun and was so animated & happy. This parenting a parent thing is tricky business – I think I’m in a Big Fat Case of Denial ’cause I actually haven’t been able to “Go There,” if you know what I mean. But it is truly my privilege and honor to be with her and to help my siblings as we all cluck around her, care for her, pamper her. I love you, and I’m sending much love to you and your mom.

  10. Lisa, you are right that so many of us have parented our mom. It was my honor to do this, my mom had done so much for us and lots of other folks as well. She was both parents for me. I still miss her every day, I do remember the denial on my part. It is so hard to accept the “slipping” mentally and physically. You are right that it is a blessing that your mom know who you are, my mom knew me as too. That is huge! I am thinking of you and your mom. Give her a hug for me and my mom!

  11. I love Tom’s comment that we remember love more than we remember pain. Sixty six years I was blessed with a loving mother. Thanks be to God.

  12. deep and humble THANKS to all of you who’ve so generously shared your stories here AND to ALL who shared more privately. i honor and celebrate of you. may we all live into this season of our lives with willingness, love, compassion, a healthy sense of humor, and forgiveness (especially for ourselves).

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