They were married for sixty-two years, which we can describe as a normal marriage but with a lot of ups and downs, roller coasters, and marital crises. During those ups and downs partially separated, visiting each of their children for prolonged periods of time. With age comes illnesses, mental yearly changes, and needs that need to be met. Unhappy lives, unfinished businesses, and unknown goals.
What happens when your parents aged 89 and 86 start seeking their own space away from each other? You may ask yourself, “Why did they wait so late in life to realize their paths were different?” Perhaps dreaming of what their lives could have been, the what if… Sometimes we need to take on the role of parenting our own parents and we feel inadequate or not ready for this especially when they don’t want to live together anymore.
Here are some ways to help:
- Be empathetic and try to understand them both as much as you can.
- Honor them like you were taught, following life principles with the understanding that you need to take care of them while at the same time caring for yourselves.
- Help them accept and adapt whether it’s in their own home, in a different state, away from their possession, or away from what they are familiar with.
- Set up boundaries that keep you healthy physically and mentally in order to continue helping them.
- Find a way to help them without forgetting to live your own lives. You must care for your own needs without burning your strength, patience, and purpose in life.
- Prepare yourself and do research for when they reach that stage.
- Don’t take sides, listen to them both, no matter what.
Most importantly, don’t forget it starts with the power of love.
Brenda Rivera, BSW &
Rosa J. Parra, Founder of Palo Magazine