Oct 12, 2009

When our parents get old...

Last week, Kellen went on a John Mayer kick. We listened to Continuum for hours on end. Not that I'm complaining. I love me some JM. Listening to the songs over and over, though, I started paying attention not just to how they sound, but what the songs were about. I'd never realized the song "Stop This Train" was about losing your parents, and listening to it got me thinking...

It's not as if I've never thought about my parents growing old or passing away before. I have. When I was 16, my mom ended up in the hospital for two months. I remember my younger brother and I having the discussion about how afraid we were, driving home from Thanksgiving dinner at my aunt's by ourselves. I got to experience what my life would be like without her. I didn't like it.

My parents are only in their 50s, and God willing, they'll have another 30 years of healthy, happy, independent lives. After all, all of my grandparents are still around and for the most part healthy and independent. And my grandmother had her parents until she was in her late 60s. But still, in my 20s, I'm having to come to terms with the fact that my parents are getting older. They'll be retiring soon. The list of doctors they have is growing longer, and the list of problems is starting to grow, too. Someday, I'll be the one taking care of them. And someday, I'll have to say goodbye to them.

My parents have always been at the center of my life. I've never made friends easily, and I've gone stretches of my life without anyone I could count on or lean on but my family. My parents are the people who always reminded me that I was loved, that I was special to someone, and that I had someone to go to, no matter what. They've gotten me through so much. It's impossible to imagine a world where they aren't there.

But I know someday, it will happen. How do people ever find the strength to get over that loss?


  1. My parents are in their early 50s and both have family histories of various illness (cancer on dad's side, heart disease on mom's). I can't imagine something happening to either of them, and knowing that one day it's pretty much inevitable is heartbreaking. I don't know how I'll deal.

  2. I get so scared when I think of my mom getting old and dying. Luckily, she's only 44 and very healthy. My grandparents are in their late 60's and still going strong. We had a scare last year when my grandma was diagnosed with cancer and I just don't know how we would've survived losing her, especially my mom. I just don't like to think about it. :)

  3. Once again, your post is my feelings exactly... My mom is turning 60 this year and I'm terrified - terrified that I won't have her much longer (relatively speaking), terrified that my future hypothetical kids won't have much time with her - terrified that I would be nothing without her. (My Dad is younger and healthier, but otherwise the same things could apply to him.)

  4. My dad juuust turned 60 and my mom is turning 60 next month. I'm so scared that I won't get my act together and they won't be around to meet their grandkids. I can't imagine my life without either of them.

  5. I honestly don't know how people get through the loss of a parent. I'm sure it changes some people so much they never really get over it. My parents are healthy but their list of doctors is growing, too, and just thinking about the possibility of losing one of them makes me want to burst into tears. And thinking about one parent's reaction to the loss of the other is sometimes harder to imagine. My parents are independent people, but they are definitely attached at the hip. So thinking of them alone is harder than thinking of them both gone.

    I try to enjoy my time with them and remember that I'm lucky to have two parents to worry about - my boyfriend's father passed away when he was young. I'm sure he'd deal with the anguish of worrying to have his dad back.

    But I understand your worries. Same here.

  6. It must be one of the hardest things ever. It's hard enough realising your parents are getting older and aren't invincible. Thinking about this stuff always makes me want to go and give them both a big hug.

  7. I know what you mean , I don't even wanna think about it because i still need them to be there for a lot of part in my future life. :( I can never count on anyone as good as I can count on them.

  8. This is one reason why I'm very thankful my parents had me and my brother when they were young. My parents are in their late 40s (50 next year), and likely will have another 20 years before any age-related medical complications, Lord-willing. Three of my grandparents are doing well in their mid-70s (the fourth died of a smoking-related illness 20 years ago), so there's a good possibility that I'll still have my parents for another 30 years...yet I don't look forward to that day, whether it's near or far.

  9. Yes, I never got over it!!!

    Lost my mom @ 13 lost my father @ 35 and now @ 45 a mother of 25,19 1nd 14 years old I wonder how our aging is effecting our kids (my husband will be 52 next month)????

    Tell you one thing from my experiance; aging is just a change that you see in the mirror

    The reflection of the parents' soul will stay forever same

    Hug them and tell them how much you love them always and trust me goes both ways

  10. Just let your parents know you care about them...in simple ways: Call them for no reason other than to see how they are doing and to tell them about how things are going for you. All your parents want for you is that you're (1) healthy and (2) happy, whatever it is your doing. If you convey that to them in whatever way you can, they will feel comforted and they will know they did the best in raising you. AND if you do just those things, you will be ok when they eventually go--you will have no regrets and you will accept the way things are suppose to be in life. You will be more than ok. I know. I am both a child, who recently lost my parents, and I am a parent. I know both ends of this.