Aging seems to vary for many people. Some do it so effortlessly, slowing down and gently bowing out over a long period of time. To others it comes suddenly and harshly. My mother and father so engaged and active were hit rather suddenly with my mother’s diagnosis of hydrocephalus. She held her own for almost two years as we watched something strange and undiagnosed take over. Surgery to manage and physical therapy led everyone to believe in improvement only to realize life would never be the same again. As primary care-giver, my father tried to assume a roll he had never trained for. It began to take a toll on him and he became more “scattered” in his thoughts. What seemed to be just the strain of his new position soon became more pronounced -dementia.
Both of these diseases of the brain have similarities, although I find it rare to catch the two of them suffering from the same issue at the same time. Once again I’m learning a new language and set of skills in dealing with these people I love. I’ve been with them so long, yet they just aren’t the same parents that I’ve always known! It’s frustrating to go and visit, keeping it “light.” I can’t share with them my heart-felt concerns about my family like I used to. I miss that… I miss them.
In some ways our relationship is sweeter, like when my tiny Mom puts her head on my shoulder or reaches for my arm to steady herself. Or when my Dad holds my hand as we head across the parking lot to yet another doctor’s office. He is trusting like a child, very different from the father I grew up with. My Dad was always the tallest dad, the smartest about everything from cars to finances. He was my go-to guy for advice and information. Now he looks at me worriedly and places his face in his hands, “I’m so confused.” They both taught me well how to comfort. I’ve sat many times in his spot, receiving their godly counsel. Oh, that I might give just a little back to them of all they have given me.
If your parents are still active, thank God for their health and if they’re ailing take a moment to thank God you’re still here to offer some love. I don’t know exactly where this road is going for me, but I know I’m not alone. He will bring about His Glory! -Anna
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