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Reflection: People Say

April 6, 2013

People say it’s hard to watch your parents grow old but I have never agreed. I think it’s amazing to watch our elders move into another phase of life that asks completely different questions of them, a phase in which they alone excel. 

What is hard is letting go of the memories that pin them into place and time, as if they were butterflies on display.

What is hard is allowing the current moment to be enough instead of inevitably wrapping comparisons of an older favorite moment around the current paler moment and finding disgust or sadness in our mouths.  

What is hard is forgiving the elder for moving on. 

What is hard is letting go of our own fear of slowing and forgetting. 

What is hard is seeing the elder lose the ability to participate in resolution building moments, when we’d been putting off and avoiding the tricky conversation. 

What is hard is accepting the elder is not perfect, nor did she need to be. 

What is hard is forgiving the elder for every transgression that never got spoken. After a lifetime, the list has become so long it piles up on the floor around the feet increasing the risk of tripping. 

People say it’s hard to watch your parents grow old and I continue to disagree. There is nothing more natural nor more holy than walking with them as they are leaving this place they’ve contributed to for a lifetime. 

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7 Comments
  1. Kate England permalink

    Beautifully said my dear.

  2. Perry Downes permalink

    So beautifully said, Kim.
    I totally agree.

  3. Matty permalink

    People look at the trees in the fall with their leaves turning colors and then falling to the ground and say ‘how beautiful.’ It’s the same for our elders, but we don’t recognize that.

  4. I love your blogging kim. Your perspective is fresh, from your heart and always thought provoking!
    You rock!!!

  5. It is transformative to witness the eloquence and openness with which you face this new emergence of fierce grace!

  6. This is a very powerful reflection. Back when I was a physical therapist working with people after they’d had a stroke, I noticed how much easier it was for me to see the essence of the person, i.e. all that remained, than it was for the family, who noticed primarily all that was lost. Your words, Kim, show the profound work needed for a daughter to meet her father right where he is now. Thank you for speaking of this so eloquently.

  7. Thanks for sharing this lovely post! It is an honor and a gift to be a part of our parents’ journey at any stage. Like so many others, my husband and I are turning towards this process with our parents – and noticing how much we all benefit when we attend to their needs mindfully, as well as our own.

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