My grandparents adopted me. They raised me since I was a baby. The only drawback to this is that they were already well in their 40’s-50’s when I was born, so I have less time with them compared to what others have with their birth parents.
My father is 72. My mother is 68. Even as a child I was already aware how old my parents were. Since I was so attached to them, Id often worry about their well-being.
One time, when I was 4 or 5, my mother took me with her during a doctor check-up of some sort. She was groaning in pain as the doctor did the routine. After they were done, I was so angry and scared for my mother that I balled my tiny fists and punched the doctors legs. I huffed, which got a laugh out of them.
20 years later and I can see time marked on my parents faces when I skype them. I live in a different country now and while Im fulfilled, I sometimes find myself being unnerved at the idea of them getting sick or even suddenly passing while I am miles away. I get scared shitless if my father just catches a fever or a cough or a cold.
My worrying strengthened recently when my friends father was laid to rest. It got me fretting more than usual –
How do we cope with our parents getting older? How do we prepare ourselves emotionally with the fact one day they will die (and probably soon)? How do we come to terms with the looming possibility of losing them?
I guess theres no simple way to answer these questions. If we think about it, all of us reach the age 70, 80, 90 or even 100 eventually. Right at this moment, we, too, are aging.
Our parents are growing old and so are we. Death is unavoidable. We cant really solve something as inevitable as aging. I guess all we can do is live our life as best as we know how and cherish our loved ones while they are still here.
I searched for a solution, specifically a clear-cut method I could follow, yet there was no straightforward answer. It seems bleak, but when that time comes we just have to accept the situation as it is and hopefully remember people are capable of surviving tragedy (even more than we know).
In case you are still struggling, too, take note of the following:
– Spend time with your parents, especially if youre often busy.
– Open up to them about how you feel.
– Let them know how much you love them, both in actions and words. This can be difficult if you have a strained relationship with your parents or if you/your parents arent much for vocal vulnerability, but try so you know youve said everything you wanted to say to them.
– Support your parents. Not only when theyre struggling with their health or growing older, but also when theyre celebrating their wins in life, too. You cant control their aging process, but you can care for them and help make it easier for them.
– Prepare yourselves, literally. What do they want when theyre proper old? Do they want to stay at their house, with you, or at a home for the aged? What are the arrangements when they pass away? When youve planned out the trivial matters, then you will have more time to be with them now as well as space to grieve in the future.
– Regard grieving as healing. Yes, it is difficult to see your parents slip from you and the loss later will be painful. But in time you will be okay, again, especially if you find and surround yourself with a support group.
– Dont be ashamed of what you are feeling. Don’t shut out your emotions and remain in denial as itmay only make things harder for you. Hopelessness, fear, anxiety, sadness, anger – whatever youre going through right now is normal so find a way to accept it rather than sneak your way around it.
– Forgive each other.Is there anything you want to ask forgiveness for? Is there anything your parents did that warrants your forgiveness? Talk it out – not to simply rid yourself of guilt, but to free yourselves from any unresolved issues, and hopefully build a better relationship together.