Caring is emphasized as much as curing.
That's a sentiment that really touched me when I read David Brooks' recent opinion piece titled Death and Budgets from The New York Times, and kind of where I've arrived when it comes to my parents' health, particularly my mother's.
The rest of our family vacation was bittersweet in that regard, my mother still in the throes of a severe Porphyria attack as well as recovering from a stomach surgical procedure, her body an embattled shell of itself, losing its battle to the years of chronic illness, pain and multiple medications.
That's been hard for the entire family, but we've been so focused on the "curing" and her getting her life back by pushing her to take better care of herself, we lost sight somehow of just simple caring for her as she has cared for us all these years.
Moms are supposed to care for there families unconditionally (although I know every family, including my own, who would argue there are always a few conditions), so why don't we do the same for them? There's a point when we just have to stop blaming our loved ones for not taking the best care of themselves and just encourage them and care for them unconditionally (with a few conditions thrown in for good measure).
My mother was in good spirits when we visited last week, especially since her sweet granddaughters were there (no matter how exhausting they were for the Mama and the Daddy -- enough with the fairy godmother dumbstick, please), but she was limited in what she could do physically. Unfortunately I've never seen her look so ill.
But we still had a great time visiting with them, going out to the local parks for strolls and also visiting a wild animal safari park that the B-hive buzzed wildly about. The Oregon coast is really gorgeous and the weather couldn't have been better.
There were a few times, when Mom's strength was there, when she could hold our girls and play with them a little. Dad could do more, but his strength has been sapped as well because of his own physical impairments over the years as well as caring for Mom (which is why it's time to bring them close).
I contrast that with the years my sister had with my parents helping to take care of her two wonderful children, when they were younger and in relatively better health. Years my family will most likely never have with them at this point.
Family dynamics are not always warm and fuzzy, but for those of us who have parents we love, and for those who are parents today, you embrace the all of it.
Sure some folks would say, "You should've had your kids sooner," or, "Your parents should've taken better care of themselves."
Although my dad would retort, "Should'ves and could'ves don't mean shit."
And I agree, because they don't. Only the "now" means anything and how you respond to the now. No, I'm not resentful. Sad, but not resentful. My sister was blessed with those years as I'm blessed with the moments I've gotten of late.
It's all in the caring now. It's all in the caring.
We love you, Mom and Dad.