My Parents

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I've been wanting to do this for some time now; just haven't really felt like I could do it justice - but my friend Bonolicious posted a blog about losing her uncle and that prompted me to get these thoughts down & out.

My parents are the greatest people: generous, dynamic, full of joy and light. They have had the philosophy over the years of 'enjoy life now, because you never know what might happen later'. And I'm glad that they have lived their lives in their own way, fun-loving and always doing their level best to try everything together, and often with friends.

The problem I have is dealing with the pain of their unhealthy food choices, not exercising, and now being too ill to enjoy their lives the way they did for years. I know it's selfish of me to want them to be around forever; I know it's unfair to think that they should have seen the light and changed their lifestyles any faster than me - or at all. Who says that what I'm doing is any better or more right than what they're doing? We have access to so much more nutrition and health information now than they did, years ago - I certainly don't have any answers there.

We can't live for others, and we can't change them either.

What I know is that seeing them both deteriorate in the past few years has lighted a fire in me: I don't want this future for myself, and even more I DON'T want my daughter and husband to wonder if I could have stayed with them longer if I had made better choices.

It's possible that I will try my hardest to get fit, strong, and healthy and then find out I have cancer or get hit by a truck, or any other horrible outcome - but I have to try. And I have to deal with these emotions about letting my parents be who they are, respecting their choices, and letting them go. I think the bottom line is that fear of letting them go.

Every thing they gave me, a legacy of hope, joy, and strength will always be in me, from them. If they had it to do over again, would they do it the same?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Enjoy your parents as long as you can! No matter what age they are when they die, it is always too soon. Having lost both of my parents this year within 4 months of each other I know losing them is never easy. My mom was 89 and my dad 90. And even though Daddy's health was not good for several years, Mama was the one who died first, which surprised all of us. We thought for YEARS Daddy would go first, but when Alzheimer's started becoming really noticeable (not sure how long she had it before then) she started deteriorating much faster than before.

    I try to use all the information I gather so I can live a much longer healthier life. My dad has a sister who is 93 and is still somewhat active, although she lives with family. He had an uncle who was just a week or two short of 100 when he died. So long life runs in my family. My focus is trying to make it healthy as well as long.
    3452 days ago
    I've watched this twice in my family and so I can really relate... but I can't seem to kick myself in the butt to stop going in the same direction... really frustrating!!
    3452 days ago
    I'm so blessed that my mom , who does have heart failure, takes pretty good care of herself. She walks 45-90 minutes a day. Oh, she has RA too!

    Her heart disease is out of her control (had it since childhood) and she's77! But for ourselves, there are aspects of our health that we can control, and do have way more information and support to do it than folks did decades ago.

    SP is a great place to learn and share regarding these issues! With your determination, I'm sure you'll continue on your healthful journey!
    3453 days ago
    This brings tears to my eyes - you know how this hits close to home!

    My BF pointed out last night that I am really trying to parent my parents and that won't do anything but cause stress on both sides. It isn't easy to let it go!

    In the end, we just want what is best for them, but we can't control them. They may feel too old or too set in their ways to change. You can learn from them. You can "set your ways" right now and break the cycle and that might be the best way to handle it. Good luck!!!!!
    3453 days ago
    I absolutely dread the day that my parents are no longer here. While I haven't exactly experienced what you are going through, I can imagine how difficult and helpless it must feel. You and your parents are in my prayers.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3453 days ago
    I relate to this blog so much. It's so hard to let go, but we both know we just plain have to. We can't force somebody to live life differently or to make changes, I think that in itself is hard enough to accept, much less accepting having to watch them be unhealthy and deteriorate when you know they could've prevented it. I guess all we can do is pray and pray and pray and leave it in God's hands!

    I'm glad you wrote this blog. It took a lot of strength and I admire that! Praying for your mom and dad (and you) daily... emoticon
    3453 days ago
    Very reflective...Watching our parents age is a very difficult time for us. We do want to hold on to them forever, and you're absolutely right, they did not have the same information and resources available to them, so they have lived a different lifestyle that is hard to change at this point. But, that doesn't mean that we can't want "it" for them. That we can't want to help them make the changes that may change their lives, their futures, and their enjoyment in the later stages of their lives.

    And the hard part, as you wrote, is knowing all this and letting them make their own choices, despite what we want or think is best.

    Although it is difficult, good for you for dealing with these feeling you are having, and respecting that you have to let them decide...recognizing that you have to let them go.

    Be proud of yourself for realizing that you don't have to follow this path yourself. That you are being strong and working towards the changes that make a better you - one who is choosing to be there for her family, despite the fact that it is not an easy road -

    This self-discovery is not always easy - but you are SO worth it..

    emoticon paula
    3453 days ago
    You are correct- it is their choice, but you can learn from it. You know you don't want a life like that, you have the ability to make changes for yourself.
    I have many friends who complain about their weight and how they want to live healthier- many times I have told them about sparks and tried to get them walking with me- instead you can find them at any fast food place. Some people are comfortable in their surroundings and don't really want to change. That is their choice.
    All we can hope for is if they see others making changes maybe they will also.
    3454 days ago
    I understand this. My Mom's health isn't the greatest. I'm sure she would have a much better quality of life if she would focus even just a little bit on exercise and nutrition. It breaks my heart when she tells me that she can't bend over to clean something. She loves going to the beach on vacation. However, now she started to complain how she has trouble walking the short distance from the hotel to the ocean.

    I've found it difficult to even respond. What can you say to things like this? I'm at a loss.

    I know my Mom loves facebook. So, I told her how I was doing SP and their are some similarities with facebook. She isn't interested. I was hoping she might read a few inspirational stories from some spark people.

    In the end, I guess you just can't force someone to live healthier. It needs to be their choice.
    3454 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/26/2011 6:07:13 PM
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