It’s never easy dealing with aging parents. Not only do they present their own complicated issues but families often have so much dysfunction that it’s hard to agree on caring for the aging parents. I’ve heard many sad stories through the years.
Thankfully, my family has done a good job of working together to help my parents. I’m taking a break from my typical blogging to celebrate that and share our story.
My mom held one last reunion (she’s 93 and aging rapidly) the week of July 4th. Following that I helped move her from Tampa to Phoenix in a RV with my sister and brother-in-law.
Both events were very meaningful to me. My family has always been separated by distance. My siblings moved to different states (FL, AZ, CO, WI) and I’ve never gotten to know their children well. I’ve always regretted that but the reunion really helped get us all caught up. As I get older I’d really like connecting more to them, not less.
Moving my mom proved to be more than we bargained for. There’s really no easy way to move a frail 93-year-old woman cross-country. We chose the RV thinking it would be less stress than a plane ride. But when we hit Santa Fé (7000 feet) her breathing got very labored and we had to take her to the Emergency Room. The rest of the trip was more like a survival mission with two more stops at ER’s in other towns. But we finally got her to her new home where she is trying to get her strength back.
The whole trip made me thankful for many reasons. We moved her because of my siblings and my commitment to mom ending her days with dignity. Her Florida assisted living home wasn’t providing that. Working with my siblings to make this happen was rewarding. I’m proud of our hard work on this. We moved her to a very small (ten person) home that looks more like a bed and breakfast than a care facility. It made me thankful to my dad (deceased) for his hard work and savings that made something like this possible. I know he’d be happy to see us doing this for mom.
What makes me especially happy is that there was a time when I thought my family would never be close. Everyone moved away and we lived separate lives. But when my dad died we decided to use some of his savings to have an annual reunion with my mom and siblings (not with all 36). Those reunions over the past twelve years have brought us together.
I mention this as a way to encourage you about your family. It’s so easy to let the relationships slip away… especially when it involves distance and dysfunction. But maybe you can establish some traditions that will bring you back together in meaningful ways; a reunion, fishing trips, making sure you attend weddings, funerals, baptisms, etc.
When life is all said and done it’s really about our relationships. And family is at the top of that list.
Question: How has your family come together or fallen apart throughout the years? Leave your comment below.