Old. Young. It does not matter. Parent. Single. Still does not matter. Child. Yep, that matters.
Cannot deny that we are all children. Some of us have lost our parents. Some are fortunate (even though at time it feels far from fortunate) still having parents with us.
Fall is here. It is a grey, drizzly time of year. More time is spent indoors. Lives get busy with school activities, sports, travel. Parents are busy caring for family. Fall is here.
There is a benefit of living into these older years of our lives. We have an awakening that we never had before, and we sometimes shake ourselves realizing that we should have noticed when we were younger. We learn that there is no money, hobby, sport, career, anything that is more important than those we love. We learn this lesson because of loss. I, for one, will make this confession, a truth that came to light when I sat by my father’s deathbed. I held his hand feeling the last moments we would share. I held it so tight, trying to absorb what I could. I left Darke County coming home to Oregon a different person. I came home with a tremendous sense of loss. Loss of parent, of childhood. I was oblivious most of my life to the gifts I had been given.
We all get busy with our lives. Raising children. Making a living. Striving to reach our dreams. It takes time and energy. The regiment of everyday is overwhelming. I know. I have been there. I ran the race. I had the clean home and the neat and tidy children. I was the perfect wife (with all my imperfections). I had no time to think or act. No, wait, I had the time. Anything beyond my own life was an inconvenience. I did not realize that the living should never be an inconvenience.
Please hear my words. The time with those who have raised you, grown up with you (family, neighbors, church family, etc.) is limited. You cannot get any of it back. This is the time of the year that can be very lonely for those who love you. Even the toughest of men and women need loving attention, to be in the thoughts of their loved ones, to feel a loving touch. Those who have lost partners hold on to precious memories. They have an emptiness that greets them every day. Those who are struggling with a partner who is failing are frightened and lonely. We all age. We all experience it. So will you.
We parents/grandparents will not ask for help. It just comes with the ‘parent’ territory. We take care of and bulk at being cared for. We will struggle and not want to make our struggles your worry. We will protect you at our own expense. It comes with the territory.
A visit does not take long. A trip to the grocery store. A fall bouquet. A batch of cookies. A child to hold. A phone call. An invite to lunch. Anything that says, ‘you are not forgotten’. Being included is a lifeline for someone who is alone most of the time.
So will you help me out? Someday you will be older and experience loss. Someday you might be the only one of your family who still remembers the past. Someday you will be thrilled when someone else cares. Time is ticking. Embrace those you love. There is still time.
Pamela Loxley Drake is a former resident of Darke County and is the author of Neff Road and A Grandparent Voice blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.