Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oh this headache and heartache :(

We are creeping up on 4 years since Chad left this earthly world and I would like to say (I think) that it is getting easier.  However, I would be telling a lie if I said that.  If I'm breathing I am missing him.  This time of year is a bit harder to breath as my niece that I loved so much and spent so much time with passed away October 10, 1996.  It was a terribly sad and devastating time for our family and non more than my sister, her mother.  I knew how she hurt, but you never have the full impact until you find yourself in the unfortunate position to know first hand the loss of a child. 

A friend of mine once said "You never know how strong you are until that is all you have".  I'm still waiting to feel strong.  I feel very weak most days and yes, I can fake it with the best of them during work and in settings when it wouldn't be appropriate to show that kind of emotion, but it doesn't mean on the inside things aren't churning like crazy, because they are.

As these anniversary dates approach it drives home even more that we as a family are facing the aging of our parents.  Talk about a whole other journey.  There are so many thoughts that run through the mind and an unsettled feeling in your spirit because you know there are so many things that haven't been solved for yet.  It makes it difficult to think of having any kind of peace when that dreadful day comes. 

I know I am blessed with 3 sets of parents.  I have my biological parents and my bonus parents (to also include my mother-in-law) and then it feels like a curse at times too when you think about having to watch their health decline and families start worrying and trying to do what is best for our parents and make sure their final wishes are carried out.  It truly is as hard as people say it is.  Roles do reverse and you find yourself planning the role of parent to your own parents and that in and of itself is a very tight rope you have to walk, because you never want to embarrass them or make them feel worse than they do or heaven forbid, you make them feel like a burden and not needed any longer.  So far, we as a family, have been very lucky that we haven't made our parents (any of them) feel this way (at least I pray we haven't).  But talk about a very sensitive road to travel at this point and moving forward.

No one likes to think of their parents getting older and needing assistance and our parents certainly don't like the idea of being dependent on their children, but that is the way the circle of life is and it is how the Lord intended.  They were to bring us up so that we would become productive and self-sufficient adults and prepared to care for them when that time comes.

That times feels as though it has certainly come for us.  We have ailing parents and they are aging and while they do amazing for the most part any time they have a set back, which we have had recently, it really drives home the points that we need to make arrangements and have the hard conversations now while they can still decide for themselves.

My heart goes out to all who have to care for aging parents and even more if they are not in great health.  It's expensive, heartbreaking, time consuming, and very hard on the parents' egos when they are faced with this stage in life.

I don't have all the answers or even many of the answers, but I'm trying to educate myself and then pass along any information I have with my siblings.  I have made mistakes and will probably continue to make them as we embark on this new journey yet again.  My mind continuously spins with thoughts of Chad, my siblings, my parents (all of them), my husband, my bonus kids, my nieces and nephews, and just all my family.  I wish I could do for them all and be with them all and help them live the best and happiest life they can, but I can't.  They (would really love to meet they one day) say it takes a village to raise your children (figuratively obviously), but I think it also takes a "village" to care for your aging parents.  Daddy always says the "Golden Years" is a crock of ****.  He even said you have to be pretty rich to even get old with the cost of medication and all the medical bills you end up incurring.  I think he may be right.  However, I also reminded him that I try to keep going backwards, but everyone wants to continue reminding me of my "real" age so I apparently don't stand a chance with avoiding the "A" word.  Ugh!

If you haven't called or seen your parents in a while, do.  You just never know what tomorrow brings and if you are fortunate enough to have them close and see them regularly, have those hard talks with them before it's too late.  No one wants try and figure what they would have wanted after they are gone when a simple conversation before would have kept that from happening.  You need to have your time to grieve, not worry about how to handle the logistics of laying them to rest.

To clarify, our parents (all of them) are ok at this point, but there have been enough scares recently to make us all start thinking and realizing that putting things like this off much longer could find us scrambling to figure it out when it is too late and that isn't fair to anyone.

If you are having trouble speaking to your parents about these matters I was told the perfect sentence this week.  This is their last chance to have a say about their life.  How perfect is that.  So encourage them to have a say in their life and assure them that you will go above and beyond to make sure those wishes are carried out as they have requested. 

Love on your family every chance you can and often.  None of us are promised tomorrow.  

Our family.  All the siblings were there from the Croft side 2014

Baby Chad... Miss him only when I breathe

Chad & Jessica together here and together now...  Both missed beyond mortal words. <3

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