Our dear friend Fatimah’ has been caring for her elderly parents for many years. We thank her for sharing her experience with us. Here is her story:
I offer my heartfelt congratulations to each of you—to each of us—for at some point on your journey, you may become a Proud & Gratified Parent of a Parent. Ladies 50-plus, you are my sistah’s in many an unknown way. Thus the subject and title of my first sharing with Oops 50!
Yes, indeed, one of my highlights in life is having the honor of caring for my parent(s). For those whose parents are still with us, I say again, “Congratulations!” And, for the parents gone on, “Thank you!” Some of my friends say that I have a lot to share regarding the honorable role of care-taking for a parent. And I just might agree. Here is my first 50cents on the subject.
Over the years, I have had, and am still having, powerful transformative experiences through caring for both of my parents. My mom (R.I.P) was challenged with dementia, but this little, yet extremely powerful lady was with us until she was 98.
My pape’ is still with me at the tender age of 105. One thing that’s for sure – the role of parent is not an easy one.
I have come to realize (considering my parents’ ways, ideas, beliefs, habits & histories) they did absolutely the very best they could for me. From the time I was a little girl until high school, my mom and I had some moments, mainly to remind me that she was the boss, the goddess, the doer, the artist, the one who stuggled. I now know that within those ‘who’s boss’ experiences, she was empowering me—by standing in her own power. Little did I know then that her ground rules were roots for my survival – her creative gifts, food for my soul. Her fierceness was my foundation for growth and empowerment.
My pape’, a gentle man indeed, has his ways, beliefs, history and experiences too. Pape’ and I flow 97% of the time with ease. The few confrontations we’ve had only began as he got older and realized that his physical self and gentlemanly ways were changing. His man-ness, too, was shifting.
So, from then to now, what have I gained through the honorable role of being ‘A Proud & Gratified Parent of a Parent’ –that makes me congratulate myself…in gratitude? I’ll start with some critical words for me:
Allow, Trust, Remember, Stand,
Give Choice, Be Responsible, Respect, Create Authenticity,
From these engaging and transformative words and ways of being, creative and wondrous experiences happen. They are mandatory for me within the dynamics of any relationship. Telling a full-grown adult what they should or should not do is a no-win situation, and when it is your parent, forget it. It creates separation, mini wars, challenges, heartbreak, sadness and a host of unhealthy energies and experiences…experiences that, in all honesty, we really do not want.
At any given moment, my Mom or Dad makes a choice to do something or say something that I might think will not be good for their overall well being or for their mental & spiritual wellness. Once I have remembered to say, “It is your choice, and you are responsible for the results,” I have experienced each of them shifting, maybe not right there in the moment, but afterwards. It is an amazing gift to give another. To be reminded of the freedom of choice, the result, the responsibility, has been an invaluable gift for my parents and for myself.
It is also good to remind them of the responsibilities that come along with choice. This is my truth, from my experiences. Learning this through my interactions with my parents has been an invaluable gift to me.
Once the choice is handed back to them, freedom is offered. Once they get to remember “My Choice, My Results, My Responsibility,” an amazing shift happens.
I have experienced this shift many, many times—both with my parents and within myself. Freedom for them and for me! When I am no longer responsible for their choices, I am free to handle other, less challenging aspects of caretaking.
This is where those words above come into play: it is important to allow them to make choices and to give them the responsibility for those choices, and then I get to let go! Parents are grown. They have paid their dues. They all have earned an invaluable place on this planet: to be acknowledged as the gift they are. And NO, it is not an easy journey for any of us…but PROFOUND experiences, BLESSED moments and more come of it.
My choice has been to be authentic and respectful, stand in my truth, trust, while allowing & letting go, getting creative, be authentic to myself & to them—and I can testify it truly created a meaningful, loving, nurturing bond between my parents and me: a most whole, wholly holy experience.
Part Two of this session will follow. In the meantime, I thank you for your readership & feedback!