Power and Love Found in Families
Family photo - Fall 2022:
Front row: Marcia's cousins, Carol and Pat Corbett.
Every so often I’m reminded of the power and love that’s found in families. As we live in and around love from infancy, that security surrounds us in an invisible cloak over the years that’s easy to take for granted. Being separated, however, shines a bright light on what’s missing. I remember the first time I went to camp as an 11-year-old and was totally engaged in learning new things, making crafts, and meeting all the other kids. When two girls in my cabin cried with homesickness I was confused. However, on the last day after we packed up and went to the parking lot to meet our parents, I burst into tears when I spotted mine coming around their car. I went running to them with a feeling I’d never known in my young life—missing them—and was filled with joy to be reunited with them.
Last weekend my brother and I had the opportunity to spend time with cousins from states far away from here. We had grown up together with infrequent visits, but communication through our parents had kept us apprised of each other’s activities. Now, as adults, we share life events through Zoom, email and texting. But seeing each other in person adds a lasting impression, especially after the past two years of home-bound and restricted living. These were real-life moments that I’ll always treasure. Sharing loss of loved ones, successes, adventures, and disappointments were all wrapped together with love, to give and to witness for each other.
At Advocates For Seniors (AFS), we listen with care…
At AFS we listen with care to our clients who enjoy reminiscing about their lives. Most have lost their long-time family and friends so we act as their surrogates. Clients usually talk about the things they did, the places they traveled, and the people who influenced them. One client was born just a month before Queen Elizabeth II, and was very interested in the recent tributes given to Her Majesty during the funeral and accompanying events. Our client contemplated her end-of-life as well, but it was seen as a distant event rather than pending. I found it striking since this client has been in hospice care for eight months. We discussed how she was ready for her end-of-life whenever it may come, but did not have a particular sense that it was near or that she was preparing for it. She has lived a very full life in several countries, and has an expansive sense of curiosity for other people. She may relish living in the moment above all else.
Other clients wonder why they are still here. They are in pain from debilitating illness and surgeries, and consider leaving this earth would be helpful. One said to me that she believes she is here to teach her caregivers how to care for her. She observes that they need to have a mindset focused on the patient rather than their own comforts. She gives instructions to each new aid who comes to her room in the nursing home, hoping that some of it will have an impact.
However you live your days, relish the long-term relationships you’ve had. Seize the moment to contact family or friends and let yourself feel that wonderful grounding that comes with connecting with a dear one. You’ll both be better for it.
As always, Advocates For Seniors, LC is here to help you make choices you can live with.