We know parents lose friends, and spouses, and sometimes a child. Yet the totality and nature of losses is an eye-opener. We hear from an active, obviously intelligent older person:
Yesterday I traveled to the city to meet a group of art buffs who get together once a year for a tour of the galleries of new art. We hoot at the craziness of some exhibits and press each other to understand what's going on in each installation and interactive piece. This year, however, I could not stand and walk easily. Fatigue overshadowed my pleasure in the art, and I knew that next year I would forgo an event that for twenty years has been one of the highlights of the fall season for me.
On my calendar is the evening wedding of a friend's granddaughter. In the sixty years of our friendship, S and I have participated in each other's celebrations, and now I will see a grown-up Rachel in a bridal gown--Rachel, the family nonconformist, in the traditional ceremony. I'll embrace S's friends and family members whom I've seen at previous celebrations, noting how they've aged along with me. Can I travel for two hours to a wedding that will begin about my usual bedtime? Easy, I tell myself, just rearrange your day to include a nap. But at 86 I don't adjust to changes in schedule and try as I will, the nap won't happen. Would it be foolish to go? Yes. Will I go? Probably...but certainly not to a similar event next year.
Continued on my other site: http://helpparentsagewell.com/2012/05/19/aging-parents-endure-losses-we-might-never-realize/