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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Seasons

Like many families, we are navigating the transitions that come with aging parents.

Last week, several of us gathered for a family meeting to discuss my dad’s transition from home into a care center.
He has been on an Alzheimer-like slide for several years and today is almost fully dependent on others for routine care. It isn’t an easy discussion.

My young-adult daughters and their 16-month old cousin were both there, along with my dad’s wife and two of my brothers, plus my younger brother’s wife. I liked the generational involvement. This isn’t something to be kept hushed up for just the “adults”. It’s a family thing.

It’s no surprise that I am sensitive to the emotional experience for each of us. In turns, I felt sad and tender. I felt compassion toward my dad’s wife of 23 years. I felt a certain joy that my daughters were able to contribute and participate. I felt proud of my older brother taking a mature leader posture. I was struck by the lack of discord and the abundance of care and concern.

On the drive home, my daughters and I processed things a bit more. I asked “what came up for you?” in the discussion and was impressed by their awareness and thoughtfulness.

It’s an unfolding story.