It moves slowly towards becoming a reality, one incident mingled within ordinary life events; the rude awakening comes when I step into the role of parenting my parent. I feel comfortable in positions of leadership, but now I wish I could just be the kid, I wish I could let it go and not have to intervene.
The article below written by my mother is about what she considers one of her greatest losses. I am grateful for her ability to move through the process of grief and for her courage and determination to not have your life defined by what she lost…
My loss is so small in comparison to many of life’s losses; however, at my age small losses loom large! If you are physically and cognitively still able to drive, it is your last independent freedom. Meet a friend for lunch, volunteer; a quick trip to the mall, a movie, just a trip to the country on a beautiful spring or fall day, will be things of the past when you have to give up your car.
ANGER is the emotion I felt years ago when I had my car accident. Yes, it was my fault and that made it even worse! The man who hit me was being so kind and concerned about me and kept saying, “It is only metal, but you are alright!” What did he know? He had another car at home (he had told me so) while I could not afford another car, or the higher insurance rates. I also had to come face to face with the realities of my advancing age!
I finally burst into tears when my daughter hugged me and softly said, “Well Mom, I think a loving God has just told you it is time to graciously give up your car keys, you weren’t hurt and you didn’t cause anyone else harm, so…God was good!” “Should I call the tow truck for you?”
I guess because I have had so many other losses in my life, I thought I would be the one to decide when I would stop driving! So, I cried off and on for a few days and then I thanked God for my good fortune and felt grateful.
My lifestyle has changed since I stopped driving. Good friends now come to my aid, those few who still drive offer to take me along when they shop. I have learned to use the bus available at my living community for shopping trips, doctor appointments, tours, and my family has been so good being my chauffeur service.
So, all in all, INDEPENDENCE is just another word. As my Aunt Jean used to say, “Life is full of change; you have to be able to adjust to it!” Even though I miss driving, I still have a rich, full lifestyle even without my car keys!
Have you had to parent your parent? Helping them make decisions, taking away car keys, increasing support for them either physically or emotionally? How has this affected your relationship and does it seem at times like a grief? I would love to hear your stories, so please share!