Life comes and happens in stages. We come into the world being dependent on someone to care for us and most of the time we leave the world being dependent on someone to care for us. Hopefully, someone who loves us.
I’ve been putting a lot of thought into the golden stage of life lately. Several people who are close to me are in that stage or heading into that direction.
I think of retirement as the Golden Stage.
The next stage is a difficult stage, the final stage. I’ve also been thinking about my grandparents and great-grandparents. I watched their lives change. People who were very independent, leaders and caregivers themselves needed care as their lives changed.
My mom recently shared her journal with me that she wrote as she sat beside my grandmother’s bed while her life was ending. Mom was left no choice but to admit my grandmother to a facility that could assist with her care and relive her of pain when the cancer that was consuming her life required more than my mother could do. It broke my heart as I read her thoughts and realized how hard it was for my mom to care for my grandmother and watch her go through so much pain and the lose of letting her go. She sat there by her side, daily until God took her home. It’s hard to understand why my grandmother had to suffer so much. She was such a sweet, and loving person. I am grateful that my sister lives near my mom and was able to be there for help and support. It was hard for her also.
Mind altering diseases such as Alzheimer and Dementia make life especially hard for families and those who are caring for a loved one. But what it must be like for the person having has to be extremely frightening and confusing. A few months ago my mother received a call that a dear friend of hers has Alzheimer’s and her sister who lives a few states away had been contacted and told that her sister would need care in a facility where she would be kept safe.
My mother became friends with Louis and Carole when she was hired to care for their mother who also suffered from this same condition several years ago so when she received the phone call, it was very disturbing. This sweet woman was a teacher, lived in a beautiful home, drove a nice car and had a dog whom she loved very much and who depended on her. Now her life had changed and nothing would ever be the same.
I took my mom to visit Louis while I was in the Pittsburgh area last week. My mom recently had back surgery and is unable to drive, but it was important for these ladies to see each other as phone conversations happen but are becoming more difficult. I did a photo shoot. They were so excited and we did several poses in different areas of the facility which was has several areas to sit outside. Louis showed us all the features. But let us know that she just wanted to go home. She talked about knowing that she needed to make decisions about selling her car and home as well as her belongings. She also asked my mom if her dog was still alive. So very sad to have to ask a question like that.
While mom and her friend was visiting I watched other residents of the facility. There were people at different stages of their lives. One lady was neatly dressed and sitting quietly on a comfortable sofa. Her hands were folded in her lap and she starred into the space in front of her. Clearly she was only in the room physically, in her thoughts she was in another place and time. I hope that time and place was pleasant. It occurred to me that perhaps that it was a blessing to be in a happy place within your mind and not to feel the loneliness or uncertainty that my mom’s friend was feeling.
I struggle sometimes daily, looking for something to look forward to. How hard it must be to realize that this it is. There is nothing more to look forward to here on earth. I think the key of peace must be knowing that they will be going to a better place and seeing the people that they are longing for.
One gentleman was sweeping and stopped to wave to me. He was keeping himself busy and occupying his time and mind. He looked happy because he was feeling useful.
Aug. 18 - Trent and Rosalynn Meyers
I think it’s important to have closure in any relationship that ends - from a romantic relationship to a friendship. You should always have a sense of clarity at the end and know why it began and why it ended. You need that in your life to move cleanly into your next phase. Jennifer Aniston
Sometimes, you have to go through a phase whether you like it or not. Tina Weymouth
Cherish all your happy moments; they make a fine cushion for old age. Booth Tarkington
Victoria Horsley is a volunteer citizen columnist who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Union City News Reel. She can be contacted with local events, news, birthdays or anniversaries at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 937-467-3945. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.