Aging Parents-Untold Stories: Grandma, Why Didn’t You Tell Me?

Library of Congress photo

Sometimes an aging parent unexpectedly shares a story from years ago — in this case nearly 75 years.

Long before Mother’s stroke my husband went to Cincinnati on business, staying downtown at the Netherland Hotel, a National Historic Landmark recently restored to its 1930’s grandeur. A few months later we traveled to South Carolina to see his mother, an Ohio native. Our young adult daughter came along on the trip.

After hearing about my husband’s trip, his mother began reminiscing about her childhood visits to the Netherland. She began by explaining in detail how in those days people often spent time socializing in the hotel lobbies and how on one trip Amelia Earhart was also there, in her leather aviatrix jacket and long billowing scarf. Continue reading

Aging Parents: Bodies Slower but Same World View

Aging parents, we should all understand, have frustratingly aging bodies, yet many are seeing and perceiving the world just as they always have. In fact, I’ve heard them say how curious it is to look in the mirror and see themselves staring back. Some wonder, “Who is that old person looking back at me?”

About 25 years ago, my mother was helping to care for her mother, and I was clueless about caring-for-aging-parents responsibility. Not anymore. I remember, in detail, an incident with my mother’s mother.

Late that summer my husband and I visited the assisted living community where my 91-year-old grandmother lived. Continue reading

Writing a Parent’s Remembrance, Part II

Other Posts Relating to Remembrances:   After a Parent’s Death: Writing a Remembrance, Part II,    After an Aging Parent’s Death: Obituaries and Remembrances,  Mother’s Memorial Service

We write remembrances after a loved one dies. Written memorials or tributes, usually penned by family members, are used in committal or memorial services or simply shared in conversation. Over time my family has discovered that people who are unable to attend a memorial event often ask for a copy. The purpose of a remembrance is to:

  • Share a bit more of a person’s life, especially for people who only knew the person in one arena.
  • Remind people of significant, lively, and enjoyable events in a person’s life
  • Make people, whether in a memorial service or in conversation, smile and remember.
  • Collect memories and stories to hold close during the early months of mourning.
  • Express gratitude for a person’s life.

So how did we go about writing our remembrance of Mother? Right after mother died we spent time jotting down our thoughts and remembering our conversations with her.  But there were other ways. Continue reading

Writing a Parent’s Remembrance, Part I

Other Posts Relating to Remembrances:
After a Parent’s Death: Writing a Remembrance, Part II,    After an Aging Parent’s Death: Obituaries and Remembrances,  Mother’s Memorial Service

When an elderly parent accumulates serious medical diagnoses, becomes weaker, and is sick more often than not, set aside time to review memories and talk about life. Engage in discussions, as a friend of ours suggested, while reflecting over photo albums, and consciously start conversations with “remember when” statements. Our friend’s advice was spot on, and my only suggestion to others is to begin these discussions as soon as possible.

Continue reading

Communication: We are Always Children in Our Parents’ Eyes

“We never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves.”
Henry Ward Beecher

Last night on the phone my mom directed me to take care of myself and rest up. She knows the past three years have been well-filled, and often tiring, as my husband and I assisted his mother with post-stroke support. Mom worries that I am not getting enough sleep and that I do too much. Also she knows that eventually we will be close-by helping her in the same way, and she also worries that I’ll work too hard at that.

After she made these comments my mom laughed saying, “Gee, I sound like my mother.” I laughed, too, because I often sound like her when I talk to my daughter who is a successful young adult.

“I’m the parent” experiences seem to repeat themselves in each generation.

I learned this few years ago. I called my mother to share a frustrating experience I had with my daughter. I talked on and on for some time, and my mother listened, occasionally making a comment. Finally I ended by asking, “Tell me Mom, does this ever end?”

My mom, on the other end of the telephone did not miss a beat. “When you stop doing it with me,” she said, “I’ll let you know.”

My Parent’s Blog – Seniors and Blogs

Wow! Technology never stops.

This morning my parents, age 86 and 82, told me that they went to Google and started a blog.  This is the coolest thing because they love to write and they love their computers.  Also they have lots of great opinions about helping others, ethics, and building community.

I cannot wait to read their postings, and with their permission, I’ll post their successes and challenges here.

I’ve just read that last year research found that the percentage of seniors writing in blogs is only one tenth of a percent smaller than the number of teenagers.  I will look for more information on this.  The first link that I discovered is below, but it is a report, not the original research.

As you can see, my parents are not the first seniors to start a blog, but it is going to be great fun to watch them work.

Here are some interesting links about seniors and blogging to check out.