There are certain facts which none of us can deny. If we live long enough, we will all experience aging and then die.
Being of a certain age, most of us take part to some extent in our parents’ aging process. This can easily become a part of our own “midlife crisis,” or a general uncomfortableness observing how our parents deal with aging.
I have spoken with a number of friends as they have watched their own parents become ill and die. Now I find myself in the midst of similar experiences.
The first thing I’ve noticed is the shift in focus. In the past, my visits with my parents have mostly been about me, with an emphasis on how I am making my way through life. Now I find most of the concern is directed towards my parents’ health, because it just isn’t as dependable as it has always been in the past. I have no problem with this shift. I want to help them as much as possible.
Unfortunately I come from a long illustrious line of stoic types, solid, salt-0f-the-earth people who absolutely HATE to have to ask for help.
How do I know this? My first few years of counseling in my thirties was spent learning that it was OK to admit my humanness and begin to ask for help. Come to find out, there are lots of kind, compassionate people around who want to help others.
I think the greatest difficulty in watching our parents age, is the full realization that we will eventually be facing a similar fate. How well will we cope with devastating health concerns? Will we find ways to age gracefully?
Here are two things I know for sure about aging. We will all deal with aging if we live long enough. That is a fact of life. But we also have the power to deal with our own aging process in whatever way we choose. We do not have to do it exactly like our parents.