Dad was my go-to for financial and business advice for as long as I can remember.
Dad was the Chief Financial Officer of the Kansas City Folger’s Coffee plant before he retired to care for my mom. So, when we went into business together after Mom’s passing, I was thankful to have his guidance.
My sister had always been the smart one in our family so being able to own my own business was something I never even imagined. Dad and I still owned the Sylvan Learning Center together when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.
It was difficult over the 7-year progression of the disease for me to adjust to his changing abilities to be apart of the business.
At first, we spoke often about how things were going with the business. He had great suggestions when it came to staff management and spending money wisely. But over time, he began doing more listening and not much talking.
Eventually, I realized that he was interested but the disease had affected him enough that he was not able to problem-solve or remember much of the discussions. With this change, I decided to bring my sister in as a board member for the business so we could all stay informed together.
He was so proud of our partnership he always remained my cheerleader, but I had to accept his new role and not put pressure on him to be what he had always been.
One of the hardest things about a Season of Caring for an Aging Parent is letting go of what used to be.
We all have patterns of how we functioned in our family while growing up.
- Is your older sister still the smart one? Maybe, but does that really mean you aren’t smart too?
- Is the baby of your family really the favorite? What do you see today that supports that as truth?
- Is your Dad really unreasonable and demanding? You might have felt that way when you were a teenager but is it true today?
- Are there any arguments or conversations you find yourself in that are just the same as they were 20 years ago?
Are those patterns serving you or your family well in this season of life?
Learning to let go of the past or what always was can open the door to new things.
- New respect for your parent’s life and all that has influenced who they are today.
- New adult relationships with your siblings.
- New understanding of a disease or medical condition you didn’t know much about.
- New courage to step out and do things you have never done before, like advocate for your parents, discover new ways to laugh together or even help them file their taxes.
- New strength you didn’t know you had in you.
Is it time for you to let go of something? You are not the same person you were. Your parents are not the same as they were.
Learn from the trees this Fall and see how lovely it can be to let things go.
Embrace both how you have grown and how they have, and make this Season one of new growth, love, and new memories! ?