Love, Full Circle
The holidays brings on a tone of feelings and emotions for a lot of us; I wanted to take a moment and speak to all those out there currently caring for aging parents.
The other day I saw an old family friend, Michelle, walking with her dad; he is well into his 80’s. She and her sister, having lost their mother years ago, have been helping care for their dad for awhile now.
Michelle and her dad were walking and chatting away, it made me think about my own dad and made me feel happy and sad at the same time.
Having to care for an aging and/or sick parent evokes lots of emotions; to see the people who cared for you aging and needing you to care for them is odd at first…ok it’s just plain odd all the time.
When my dad was sick and even now as my mom, who is still fully independent, but aging and is needing us more, people often make comments about how lucky he/she is to have me/us and how good, kind, caring….I/we are (my fake sister Ginette is part of “us/we”).
I am certain Michelle and Shary, as well as, my cousin Tania who helped care for her mom, get or got the same types of comments; how lucky your parents are to have you.
The truth of the matter is that we are lucky, lucky to have had parents who loved us and cared for us. That’s how we were raised so it only makes sense that we would now, when needed, help care for them.
I use the term caring, because I like how it sounds, I don’t much like taking care of, like it’s a burden. I kind of like to think of it this way; that the amount of love and caring you received growing up is the love and caring that you give back.
I’m fully aware that a lot of people had really shitty parents, but are still loving and caring people. What I guess I am trying to say is that I was so blessed with so much love by my parents that caring for them is a no brainer, it’s just my turn.
Is it easy to have to help your dad get in and out of the car, the man who was so strong, like, really, really strong? No it fucking sucks and it’s heartbreaking, but you do it and whatever else is needed, because that’s love.
One day my dad was feeling bad and I am sure he felt like he was being a burden, I told him it was payback for all the times he was there for us, and that I was still falling short and would owe him forever; he seemed to laugh at my payback comment and saw the logic in my thinking.
To all of you out there doing your best to care for everyone, I love that you love so hard. I know it’s not always easy, but the strength you are exhibiting comes from a solid foundation of love built up over the years. And depending on your individual situation, it can seem like a thankless, lonely place to be at times; those feelings are valid, please remember that you are only human and you do have limitations.
For those who haven’t had the honor of showing unconditional love in that way yet, I hope you don’t get your turn; oh how nice would it be for things to end nicely and neatly, but that’s has not been my experience.
Love is messy, it’s fills you with joy and then breaks your heart, like shatters it in a million little pieces, but that’s life. I think that those who get to the end the most dirty have had the fullest lives (metaphorically, obvs, lol).
Can we just take a moment to be extra supportive to those who find themselves in the position of caring for kids, parents and other loved ones? It’s not a burden, it’s an act of love damn it!!
I would like to dedicate this quickie, yet heartfelt post to all the Michelle’s, Shary’s, Ginette’s, Tania’s, Maneau’s, Brigitte’s, Josette’s…out there.