The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"How are your parents?"

sunsrise:  6:44
Clear sky - a sunrise without texture, but noble nonetheless.

One of the things that goes along with mid-life, menopause, and emptying nests, is aging parents.  I consider myself among the fortunate, right now, since both of my parents are alive and well.  We've had our scares.  Enough to make us realize how quickly things can go wrong.

I reconnected with a friend from long ago last month when I learned that he had lost his father.  "How are your parents?" was one of the first things he asked me.  It's a relevant question.  This week the father of a friend of mine passed away.  Another went to Florida to talk to an aging mother-in-law about moving into assisted living.  And another is in a strange period of waiting - her father is in hospice care, and family members come and go from out of town to say good-bye.

The transition from being guided by our parents to caring for them is a rocky one.  It can be enormously challenging emotionally, financially, and logistically - and there's no clear cut boundary.  You may still turn to them emotionally at the same time that they need you physically or financially -- or vice versa.  It is an evolution of a parent-child relationship that we're often maneuvering at the same time that we're figuring out how to cope with our changing relationships with our own teenagers and young adults.

The middle life people scramble to sort out their identity in the world.  Am I a matriarchal family leader?  or am I still a little sister?  Am I in my prime?  or am I on the wane, making room for the next generation?  Where do I fit?  What are my responsibilities?

While the sun is rising in one place, it is always setting for someone else.  Sometimes you feel that both things are happening simultaneously, everywhere, all the time.

Then there are complex sibling interplays to sort out as well.  One good friend of mine was very matter of fact about one aspect of being an only child.  "It was easy for me.  There was no question about who was going to take care of my parents, because I'm all they have," he said.  His father and mother-in-law have moved nearby and are a part of daily life for him, his wife and two children.

Everyone has their own story, but has to struggle to be their own writer and figure out how it will all unfold.


The ice is almost gone - and it happened in a day.  It will be fun to play with a new palette of light and reflections...

And I'll also have to see if I can train Clara not to chase the ducks.  This morning, the very first day the ice was out, there was a pair of mallards on the pond.  They nest here every year and we hope that the neighborhood predators will spare a few of their babies.  I just want to make sure Clara doesn't become a predator, but judging from her beeline charge around the pond this morning, I have my work cut out for me.  Here she is just after spotting them, but I missed getting the ducks on film today --


  1. Mine are both gone (died sooner than they should have because of rationing and delays under NHS care in Britain, but too sick to be moved, and pre-existing conditions, etc.). I had to be the executor because of some unforeseen circumstances, and my brother was felled by a massive heart attack a couple of months after the second parent died.

    Only a couple of aging aunts left, as my spouse's parents died in their 90s. It's lonely but not as bad as years of worrying and caring for sick loved ones. We were always flying or driving huge distances to cope with emergencies, trying to get good medical care, agonizing, worrying. My inlaws both got ALzheimer's and it traumatized my kids (at one point we were caring for one of them in our home).

    My advice to those who still have their parents: get them to indulge themselves and do every fun thing they ever wanted to, while they are still healthy. My parents travelled and enjoyed themselves all the time when we were first married and I was disapproving as they didn't visit us as often as we liked. But then my mom was crippled in an accident and lived the next ten years in their house. And I was VERY glad that they had had adventures before then. A similar thing happened to a maternal aunt: gallivanting everywhere and then the husband was rendered a vegetable and lived another three years. Also, indulge them. I am frugal in everyday life, but let them eat what they like, lavish presents on them, take them to do things they have never done before. At least if your parents are adventurous and not averse to new things.

  2. Wow, you've had some sad times. I admire you for finding strength in all of it, rather than melancholy.

    And thanks for the tips - you are so right. Tempus fugit.