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Words of wisdom, but they’re not quite mine

A few months ago, I asked our readers if they would share some of their insights and experiences with me concerning the issue of aging parents.While I still can't believe the response from all of you ...


Ted Light
Ted Light

A few months ago, I asked our readers if they would share some of their insights and experiences with me concerning the issue of aging parents.

While I still can’t believe the response from all of you out there, one of our readers definitely stood out. I’d like to share some of the advice Chris Thomas, an Albertan married to a trucker, sent me.

In referring to an aging parent, she writes it’s the natural order of things and in no way as great a tragedy as that of losing a child or grandchild.

But before things reach that inevitable ending, she says while coping with an ill and aging father or mother, it is first important to acknowledge that you have no control over the final outcome and then get on with enjoying their final days.

She says you must remain the child in the relationship, don’t remove their dignity by becoming the parent … Be aware that your parents need you to care for their minds and spirits far more than their failing bodies – which can best be attended to by health care professionals.

Chris says she always asked questions and then really listened to her parents’ answers. And make sure you hear exactly what they are saying, she stresses. Don’t just hear what you think they mean.

Respect the fact that one’s sense of duty doesn’t disappear with age and illness – and they are truly concerned over these things, no matter how mundane they seem to you. A good partnership, she adds, is a sharing of strengths and weaknesses and not a contest of who does the most.

Once I finished reading Chris’ letter I was touched both by the extremely personal anecdote she shared on those hand-written sheets of paper as well as the obvious wisdom you possess. Some of your thoughts I had figured out, and others I would have eventually arrived at, but some of the ideas you put forward likely would have never occurred to me.

Perhaps, as you say, your rural perspective has brought you through your experiences with a slightly different frame of mind, which could make all the difference in the world.

I have shared your letter with my own family. Thank you for sharing your life lessons with us and I hope all is well with you and yours. n


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