In my job, one of the activities I’m involved with is a Veteran’s program that provides aid to older veterans and their spouses. One of the expenses it helps with is long-term care and/or assisted living. Yesterday a family came in to see about getting funding for their mom. As they were waiting, I was chatting with them for a few moments. During our conversation, the son said to me, “pray you never have to decide what you have to take away from your parents”.
That conversation caused me start thinking about a couple of things:
(1) Someday I may have to “take something away” from my parents
(2) There may come a time when my kids may be making decisions for me.
I can totally see how in the first instance it makes perfect sense that it has to be done, and in the second, it seems like I should be able to hold on to my independence as long as humanly possible. Funny how sometimes the situation you are in changes your whole perspective!
For me, in the first situation, I’m a daughter of aging parents. I dread if the day ever comes that I have to tell either of my parents they can’t drive, they have to move out of their home, they need to do this – they need to do that. Yet part of me understands why those decisions have to be made. I’ve seen people and I’m sure you have too who simply can’t function on their own anymore – maybe you’ve even had to make these decisions for your own parents. Or maybe you’re the parent who’s been told you can’t drive anymore or you can’t take care of your home.
In the second situation, I’m the one who’s being told that I’m going to have to give something up. I don’t even want to think about having my independence taken from me. Of course, right now I still have all my faculties (for those who will argue that, no doctor has said otherwise).
I have always valued my independence. Partly, it’s my very nature to be that way; but I’m sure it’s also due to the fact that those parents who raised me instilled that in me. So knowing this, I realize that they are two fiercely independent people. Just like me.
From what I’ve observed about life, I know with the passing of time, there’s a chance that I will experience either one or both of these situations. But for now, I’m counting my blessings that neither of these situations has occurred in my life, and I pray for those that are experiencing either of them.