De Nile(denial) is a long river! One of the greatest realities is the fact that death is inevitable for all of us. We each have that moment when this reality hits home. It might be when our parents actually die, but the process usually begins when we see our parents begin to age and unable to keep up with their day to day routines. They lose things on a regular basis and forget to pay the bills. We might try not to make too much about it, but our minds go back to the times when our parents were our caregivers and made us feel secure. Now the roles are reversed and we have different reactions or feelings.
Denial is often at the forefront of our reactions. Denial helps to put off thinking about the inevitable. In our busy world, it is easy to think about other things. Denial is the easiest route to take but the most dangerous.
The adult child who sees his or her parents ailing needs to resist denial and instead needs to be the one to get the ball rolling. However, being the one who initiates “the talk” can often be met with a lot of opposition by their parent and other siblings. Their denial can cause a lot of tension in the family.
Jeannie was a young-old. She had a wonderful attitude towards life and was a very active senior. She was fun-loving and the Belle of the Ball at most senior functions. Three of her five children lived elsewhere, and two lived nearby.
The pivotal moment for the family came when she had a fall and broke her shoulder. The daughter living the closest could see that the fall had slowed her mom down considerably. She expressed her concern about her mother living alone. The other siblings had different reactions to her first call of concern. Each gave their own opinion of the situation and most, in denial, were hoping that their mother could take care of herself and stay where she was.
In time as the shoulder began to heal, the mom started to concur with daughter that it was time to downsize and move into a retirement community. Mother and daughter began the process of downsizing with Jeannie actively participating. The job got to be somewhat overwhelming, but they addressed it and hired a senior move manager to help out. Jeannie gave each child the treasures she wanted them to have. The stress was evident but the reward was great. Denial was not a word in Jeannie’s vocabulary. She believed the saying of Kakuao Okakaura, a Japanese Philosopher: “The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings.”
When Jeannie moved into a retirement community, with lots of seniors to socialize with, she thrived. The family home was put on the market for sale and the contents were dispersed.
By embracing, not denying, this family made the transition easier for everyone. When the inevitable does happen, they are in a much better position. If you find you’ve been denying the inevitable, I encourage you today to take some steps to talk about it with someone. You can always give us a call at Fran’s@ 250 317 6857. We are here for you.