Friday, January 11, 2013

Respect + Independence + Years of Familiarity in Caring for My Parents

First published November, 2012

 There is a stack of old-worn-out frayed garments on the dining table.

Me:  Dad, what do you want me to do with these?

Dad:  They're your Mom's. They are old and worn out.

Me:   Do you want me to throw them away?

Dad:  No. (with a smile) I'm going to give her the option to tell me to throw them away.

My first thought was "respect."

My Dad's respect for my Mom. Then as I watched him touch them as he walked by I realized I was being terribly naive.  He does respect her. But that's not what was in his mind that day. It was much deeper - much more important than that.

It was independence. 

As much as my Mom has depended on Dad all these years, she is still a very independent soul.  He realizes this. - probably more than anyone. 

Now she is needing to depend on nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists - but that's fairly easy, they will go away. - eventually. 

It's the dependence on the walker. The wheel chair. On my brother, my sister-in-law. On me. These are the "new" dependence. These are the hard dependence.  Dad - she has always depended on him.

Depending on her children. Depending on a walker, a wheel chair..  These are the "hard" ones for her. And Dad knows this. Without her saying a word.

Me:  Dad, do you think you can do this? (care for my Mom)

Dad:  (shrugging) I think so. I'm going to try.  


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