The Grief and Terror of Realizing Your Mom is Aging.

aging quoteTo some, Moms are the foundation of your family.  I have been fortunate enough in my life to have a mom who has always loved unconditionally, showed us how hard work can pay off and how to never give up on your goals and dreams.  Our childhood wasn’t easy and as a single mom, she showed us resilience, how to follow your dreams, as she did at a later age and how pick yourself up when you fall down.
I have realized in this past year, that the hardest part of growing up is realizing that your Mom is growing old.
There is nothing more unsettling then watching my mom advance into old age.  My mom has always been the strong parent, the one you call with good news, bad news or the one who always was there to help heal the wounds in life.
I’d like to say I have a special relationship with my mom because like her, I too became a teacher.  She could always understand my joys and frustrations of my career like no other.
As we face the inevitable, as adult children, I feel myself mourning the loss of what were our “normals” our entire life.
As I watch my mom fight for her life each day, she still teaches me a lesson of resilience.  This past year my mom went into Kidney failure, she was so sick we weren’t sure she was going to make it.  BUT she did.  She started dialysis, which her body didn’t like.  BUT she made it through a few weeks of hell and started to enjoy life again.

We were able to make some more memories. Memories that can never be taken away and for that I am thankful.  She worked hard with her doctors and managed to enjoy a great summer and fall.footprints-in-sand
Three weeks ago, she had a massive stroke.  Another set back, but this time some of the damage can’t be undone.  Watching my mom cry, struggle in pain, struggle knowing she is unable to do some of the things she was doing, she will still say the words “I will get back to myself”.  One step at a time.   She is determined to work hard one minute, emotionally falling apart the next minute and then not remembering any of it the next minute.  However, she still has that resilience inside of her.
No matter my age, this is my Mommy.  In my mind, perhaps the one gift I can give my mom without meeting resistance is to bear witness to a gentler era.  To say, I knew her when, too…..Before the wheelchair, medication, constant assistance and day to day struggles of walking, remembering and feeling good.  Back when Michael Jackson was the shit, when Mom put herself through college as a single mom of 4 to be a teacher.  Back when we danced in the living room to whatever music was playing, and celebrated when our beloved Cleveland Browns or Notre Dame won their games….Back when we took road trips to the beach with the powder blue sky stretching on forever.

And with the focus now shifted, I can let my mom know that 80 is not enough.  Nor 90. Perhaps at 100, we’ll reassess.  It has been a slow process of deterioration, with a generous dose of denial on both sides.  Mom doesn’t want to lose her independence, and as her daughter I don’t want to lose my mom.  Making choices for my mom and watching this has been a struggle to accept, as this is that strong willed woman who raised me.

The reality is, my mom now needs me as I needed her.  The reverse role is one I am not sure anyone can prepare for.  This has mentally been an emotional journey and a feeling of loss, but as my mom taught me to be resilient, it is time to understand my new role.

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, words of encouragement, a listening ear or emotional support, all of which  have the potential to turn her spirits around.  I have watched my mom  in moments of depression and feeling defeated, but I have seen her rally back to her go get em, hard working demeanor.

People need to cherish their parents no matter the age, and no matter how hard it is. There is nothing more important than making sure our aging parents are safe and enjoying this chapter in their life.  I know that I will be apart of as many more memories as I can possible have with my mom.  Today, she is a gift.  .

Published by beckyshafferliveinconfidence

I did the crazy and left my career teaching job after 19 years to work on and build my coaching business. I took a year off to follow my dream of being a life coach and using my skills, life lessons and training to help others find meaning in their life. While I do this, I am always growing, learning and finding more purpose and meaning in my life as well. Currently, I am life coaching and fitness coaching part-time , I continue to blog, meet with clients and I am back to teaching full time in Columbus City Schools, working with gifted students, teaching. U.S. History.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: