Monday, 21 May 2018

When You Become a Parent to Your Parent

"The son becomes the father and the father becomes the son."

How apt that was whilst thinking about this particular blog, I should hear this saying whilst watching a popular television show. No truer words spoken.

As I have got older, I have found myself in the hard situation of becoming essentially the protector of of both my parents. My dearest late mother succumbed to vascular dementia and lost her battle with it after five and half years last year. As her mind slowly shut down, she became childlike and vulnerable. I found that instead of her holding my hand, I was holding hers.

My father, always strong and there for his family, had a severe stroke in 2015 at only 67 years old. Once very mentally and physically active, he is now bedbound and has lost all independence, as well as minimal speech which makes communication difficult for him. Whilst he was worried I'd trip whilst I learned to walk as a toddler, now I'm worried he'll fall. I'm the one anxious about literal and metophorical obstacles for him - not the other way around like it used to be.

So now I find myself the parent to my parent... a role that neither of us wanted or had foreseen. I worry continuously about his health and happiness whilst at the same time trying to protect him.

I am lucky and blessed that my parents provided a secure and happy childhood. But as we are now all living longer, this reversed role play will probably become more common.

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