Sage Advice from an Elder

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My mother succinctly declared one day when
I was a teen that she found it difficult to fathom
why an adult child would declare a family elder as
incapable of living alone after a spouse passes.

A church friend who had reared her children
and run a household was told by her male
offspring that it was time for her to sell her
home and move into his house with his family.

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Horrified at the idea that a son would tell
his mother she was no longer capable of
living independently, my mother added:
what is so wrong about dying in my own home?

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I could think of no reason. As I mull over her question,
I too find it hard to comprehend having to move in
with adult children and their families. Yes, I love them
dearly and enough to let go and let them live their own lives.

Unless incapacitated or declared incompetent, I see
no particular reason to move in with family.
I laud those who downsize and move to a sunny
state and live in senior living or on their own.

Where is it written that we become unfit and
incapable of living on our own because of the
death of a loved one? While I realize each circumstance
is different, I relish my independence.

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We have a lifetime of friends in our lives who stay
in contact and know what is going on. As a creative
artist, I value my own private spaces to meditate and
to create. I would not want to relinquish those

private moments to reflect, write, make music, read, travel
and the other myriad of activities I enjoy. Years later,
I have the answer to my mother’s question: there is
nothing wrong with living alone and dying in my own home.

Mom & Dad Niemczura CO 19860001

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10 Responses to Sage Advice from an Elder

  1. balroop2013 says:

    Lovely words Mary Ann, one’s individual space should be appreciated though my culture encourages living with a male child and his family and those who don’t welcome and respect their elders are looked down upon. A girl child doesn’t have to because she becomes a part of the family she is married into. Sick traditions in the name of culture!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, what an informative and lovely comment. The females in my family (4 girls) were all raised to be independent. The only family we have is the one we create. I could never imagine living with my husband’s family but that is a moot point since all are deceased. I am aware that all cultures treat this differently. I personally don’t think I could stomach such a life. I relish my privacy and independency. We are all a product of our cultures too, good, bad or otherwise. I appreciate the conversation with you. Enjoy the weekend, Balroop.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve begun to wonder what will happen to me if I outlive my brain. I won’t be aware of it, so perhaps I should apologize to my children ahead of time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have a lifetime of memories packed in your brain. Maybe you should start that book to document them. Thanks for such a thoughtful comment. It gives me pause… I don’t think your children will need an apology. The love you gave them should suffice.

      Like

  3. Annika Perry says:

    Independence is important at all stages of our lives, we seek it increasingly as we are growing up. As adults it’s a wonderful journey finding ourselves, our creative interests and to continually develop these is a gift. Your post brings to mind my grandfather who after the loss of his dear wife when still a fit and healthy 76-year-old was told by some of his children he should move to somewhere smaller, to live with one of them. Well meant but my mother could see his sadness at leaving his home of his married life and encouraged him to stay, which he did for sixteen more wonderful years, until just two days before his passing. My mother is far to busy, active, fit and independent to even consider living with us but knows if the day ever comes the invitation is there … but to be honest I doubt she’ll take it up and I totally understand her reasons!

    Like

    • Annika, so much compassion and love are expressed in your comment. How wonderful that your aging elders are/were independent until their last days. We have aging clergy in our church (88, 92) and while some want these aging clergy to move elsewhere to be cared for, my question is why? Even with some infirmities of age, they are mentally alert and have no desire to change their habits. I recall sage advice from a physician years ago. He said that some patients cooperated and followed his advice, but others did not. To that I say: it is their choice and their life to live as they see fit. If they are happy, then who is anyone else to say they should remain independent. I love your attitude as well, Annika. Your grandfather and mother are so lucky to have you and your healthy attitude towards the aging process. I laud you. I think the expression “live and let live” comes to mind.

      Liked by 1 person

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