My parents are old. 89 and 91 respectively. That might even qualify as really old. Of course my idea of “old” changes with each passing year.
One of the commandments (I know it’s in the TOP TEN) tells us to honor our parents:
Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land the LORD your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12
Those are nice words but it’s not always an easy task, this honoring of your parents. Anyone with elderly parents will likely understand. At times it seems as if the roles have been reversed. My parents need more attention. They need more help. They need more understanding. They need more advice. They need more patience. They need more love. Their needs remind me of when we were raising our three children – always needing more than we had to give. And us always “running on empty” just doing the best we could.
Don’t get me wrong. My parents are doing very well for their ages. Remarkably well. And this may be part of MY problem. I still need to be “parented”. I still need their advice. I still need their attention. I still need their patience. I still need their love. And I don’t want to let go.
Recently Mom has had some health issues but she should be fine. Still her recovery at eighty-nine is not like it would have been 10 or 20 years ago and she is frustrated by this. The fact is: she has “Senior Citizen” children that expect her to live forever because she’s always been strong, healthy, active and alive. It’s selfish but it’s true. We need her to be our Mom not the other way around. Just the other day my Dad asked, my wife, Deb if she thought there was life after this life. It’s a startling question but when you’re ninety-one I suppose mortality is often on your mind. Another fact: Dad we don’t want you to leave us. Not now. Not ever.
But reality being what it is, I know that our life here on Earth cannot go on forever. I also realize that I am going to likely be facing some tough times ahead with my parents as they continue to age. Many of my friends and cousins have already lost one or both of their parents. Deb lost her Mom nearly 5 years ago. And none of us is ever ready to let go.
I will honor my parents them by giving them their dignity. I will honor them by helping where I can. I will honor them by “backing off” when I should. I will honor them by allowing them to make their own decisions. I will honor them by respecting their wishes and trying to be patient. I will honor them by remembering that THEY ARE THE PARENTS even if it seems at times that they need to be “parented”.
And I will do the best I can.