Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

Wake up, middle-agers! September 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 7:56 am

On Saturday at my church’s “Loving your Aging Parent” seminar, I was approached by an older woman who had attended the one-day event by herself. I had not met her before, but I could sense that she had something important to share with me.

Finally she said, “My grown kids wouldn’t come to this seminar, but I came anyway.” I could see the hurt on her face.

I reassured her that we were thrilled she had come, with or without her adult children. Silently I wondered if her children lived in another community or if they had other commitments that prohibited them from attending. Then as if she could read my mind, the older woman added, “They live only a mile away, but they just didn’t think that it was all that important for them to come, even though I asked.”

I recognized her familiar story. Many adult children are resistant to hearing about the challenges of aging. Older parents often tell me that their children change the subject when they try to talk about their future and end-of-life issues.

Just minutes after hugging the older woman, I chatted with two middle-aged women who had also come to the seminar. I was surprised to learn that their parents had died a few years before. They thanked me for hosting the event, then said,
“We found out the hard way about what happens when you refuse to talk with your parents about aging.  We came because we want to gather information so we will be better prepared for our own aging journey.”

A short time later, my heart was tendered to see the middle-aged women talking with the older woman who had come alone to the event. Somehow I just felt better knowing that God was at work in their midst.

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2 Responses to “Wake up, middle-agers!”

  1. Almost anonymous Says:

    Thank you for this important reminder.

    My aging parents are both disabled and one is in a considerable amount of chronic pain (prescribed opiate patches for pain control). This parent likes to voice thoughts about pain, quality of life, suffering and occasionally musings about being tired of life. This creates huge anxiety in one of my siblings who will not tolerate the voicing of such thoughts. I am then the “bad” sibling for not being anxious and “doing something” about my parent’s pain. (Good old family systems!) I believe my sibling is missing out on an authentic relationship with my parent, but of course that is their responsibility.

  2. Sandy Noe Says:

    I enjoyed your books very much!


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