Thursday, October 3, 2013

Growing up, Growing Old: Parent Edition

I came across the photo above a while ago. I take no credit for it. My classmate from grad school had posted it on the infamous Facebook. When I saw it, it resonated deeply with me. It's something we all know, but sometimes it doesn't always register completely with us. As we rush to get older and be our own person, live independently, and do our own thing, our parents get older and older, possibly sicker and frailer. We become so busy living our own lives, spending time with our own friends that we forget that our parents are still there, getting older.

I remember the first time I realized my parents, specifically my dad, was getting "old." One evening during dinner, I walked behind my dad at the dinner table. I saw a section at the center of the upper back of his head that was thinning out. My first thought was, "Dang, he's getting old." And yeah, yeah, this may not be considered a marker of "oldness" to some of you as some men (or women) have thinning hair at an early age. BUT my dad has (or had?) ridiculously thick hair. To be dramatic, this balding spot was an indication of his youth becoming evermore distant from the present. And I must admit, it made me sad, very sad. His thinning hair reminded me that with each strand falling, the older he was getting. With each strand falling, he was getting farther and farther away from man who I knew was able to do everything from opening jars, to fixing the roof, to being able to fix nearly every problem for me. It's difficult to think of him and see him in any other way.

Yesterday, I was having dinner with my parents. I typically sit across from my dad. Since my family is socially awkward with one another, dinner conversations are minimal to nonexistent. I looked up and saw my dad's mustache. There were white hairs. And again you may say that white hair does not necessarily correlate to old age, but hey! It does for most! Again, my little heart broke a little at the thought of my parents getting older and life getting possibly "harder" for them. As a social worker working with the 65+ year old population (since 2008), I see the good and the bad. In my line of work, I see a lot of bad. [That story, I shall leave for later. Stay tuned ;) ]

Lastly, the SADDEST of them all is this which I am about to share. It's normal, but it still breaks my heart. We were having dinner last week (HAHA, everything happens at dinner, doesn't it?). My mom had said, "We [mom and dad] went to the lawyer today. We put the three of you [my sister, my brother, and I] on the deed for the house. When we die, you have to take our death certificate to the [insert place of which I forgot] so that they can put the house under all three of your names." Do you know how much that broke my heart?! It still makes me sad just thinking of it. I know my parents will not be here forever, but the preparation for it all is heartbreaking. Don't get me wrong, preparation is the way to go, but it's still so depressing.  

I want to be able to grow older (just a little bit), but not have my parents grow older. Why can't that be possible?



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