Thinking, Near Philadelphia
She wrote of the strain her father's injuries have placed on her mother, and I have seen first-hand what she is talking about. She said that she has begun to investigate senior living communities for her parents.
The post led to a lengthy lunch-time conversation. Joe and I both observed Major Milestone Birthdays within the past month. We both drive. And, Rainman, actually we're very good drivers, and not just on Tuesdays. But someday one or both of us will need to relinquish our car keys. Our neighbor to the left did it on his own after a minor accident where no one was hurt, back when he was only about eighty-four. We admire him for that.
At what point might our son have to approach one of us and say, "You know, Mom [or Dad], I don't think Dad [or Mom] should be driving any more"? When will come the day where our daughter won't post about it on Facebook (because she doesn't have time to post much at all on FB), but will be looking into possible alternate living arrangements for us? What will that be like? Will she know what our preferences might be?
We spoke for a long time about community, continuity, change. Knowing that as good and wonderful as our lives are now, this is not forever. It wasn't an easy or comfortable conversation, nor were any great conclusions reached. We are both aware that it was the first of likely many such conversations, and as strange and perhaps difficult as it was, we are glad that it happened. We'll need to think about initiating these kinds of conversations with our children at some point.
Every single time I work a hospital chaplaincy shift, I am with at least one older couple whose lives have changed irreversibly. Just like that. Not gradually, but all at once. We look at our dear neighbors to the left -- he now well into his nineties and she our age but with failing health -- and wonder how long the status quo will be the status quo. Their son lives in another state, and some months ago they gave me his telephone number. After lunch today I sent my daughter's telephone number to my dear neighbor to the right, hoping she won't need it for a long time or perhaps ever, but it just seemed the sensible thing to do.
Just what I'm thinking about on a frigid, sunny day Near Philadelphia.