Some people say that roles are reversed when our parents become elderly and ill…
I’ve heard the idea that we reverse roles with our parents as they age and at a time when they need our help to carry on with daily living. I don’t agree with this idea at all. Just because we may need to help an elder eat or help them to get dressed; we do not become their parent. They have not returned to childhood, however, a parent may behave like a child …
It was funny how I could see as my teenager struggled with high school drama, and my dad’s behavior seemed so much the same. I felt as if I had it coming from both ends – most days. However, each was acting out of fear of the unknown, lack of control, and life’s changes.
The youngest of five children, I took on the main role as caregiver for our parents. Mom was the one who required the help with her daily living needs beginning several years ago. Dad could manage for himself, however; he was not adept at taking care of Mom in a gentle manner as much as he believed he could or wanted to. His stubbornness got in the way of allowing the family to take care of Mom or make use of professionals as her needs increased.
When Mom’s health declined even further and her memory loss progressed she did not revert to childhood and as I came to her aide, I did not become her parent. She and I transitioned to a deeper level of trust, connectedness and love – as she once cared for me as a child, I respectfully paid her back – with honor. The love between a mother and her children is one of the most primal human feelings; and perhaps the transition I experienced with my mother as I cared for her is what people are referring to as reversing roles.
It’s almost a year since Mom passed just after Mother’s Day last year and the ache in my heart and soul from her loss has resurfaced. She will always be in my heart…and as time heals the pain, I will remember all the things she did and the love she shared with us, and I will especially treasure the deep connection I had with Mom as I cared for her.
A mother most likely puts others ahead of herself and forgoes her own life’s dreams for the sake of her family. She can be the loving rock that holds a family together and can go unnoticed and unappreciated until she’s gone. Whether she is young and vibrant or elderly and losing her abilities, celebrate and honor your Mom especially on Mother’s Day but don’t wait for once a year to let her know how special she is.
This post is a bit personal and I am human – I wanted to say something for Mother’s Day. This time of year is a little bitter-sweet for me, and well,… I’m just sayin’..