Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Crystal Ball

The rest of this week will mostly likely be lighter on posting than usual. I have several time-consuming appointments scheduled from today on out, then leave for Thanksgiving and home on Friday. My stay will be for a full week. Expect posting to be both unsubstantial and sporadic during that time. In many ways, I'm looking forward to a temporary break in the action.

My wish (if not prayer) for all of you is that you might enjoy family time, should those be your plans. Sometimes family arrives with its own baggage, transforming the prospect of a happy gathering into a dysfunctional mess. Speaking only for myself, I have with time put aside the resentment and hard feelings I once felt. What really stands out for me is that I see my father more and more as an old man with his own ample health problems. In younger years, we fought constantly, as two strong-willed people are apt to do. I regret those days, though I think that sparring simply may have been part of the process of maturation.

I now have the foresight to view a possible scenario for the future. In time, I know I will need to assist with Dad's direct care. This may be a decade or more down the road, but I am beginning to emotionally and intellectually prepare myself for it. He cared for his aging parents and I will probably do the same. Dad has designated me on many occasions as the most responsible of his children and as the most attentive one. During a recent trip overseas, I was denoted as the point person and the conveyor of news and information. Should the worst happen, I gathered that putting together a solution would fall on my shoulders. I am humbled by this distinction on one level, but also made uncomfortable by what it spells out from here going forward.

As I conclude, here's a word of advice. Hear it, if you can, should you find it relevant. Your parents will become increasingly more and more important the older you get. Paradoxically, the farther they move towards their eventual end of life, the more you will need them. Don't let the opportunity slip through your fingers. This advice is, I recognize, not true for everyone. Certain people have had to learn a very hard lesson, often early in their own existence. For them, family is more trouble than it's worth. But even though you may distance yourself to preserve your sanity, you may still have to eventually intervene when your folks can no longer care for themselves. It will arrive sooner than you even imagine. Life passes quickly, especially when observed in hindsight.

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