After The Fall – Guest Post

AFTER THE FALL by Rebecca Platt

http://Depressionsgift.com

motherSome facts about my mother, the subject of this post. She is eighty-nine and maintains her own home. She’s a size eight with a figure most women fifty years younger would envy. I am not kidding. When she wears her snug fitting jeans, yes, I said jeans, and a fitted shirt, I look at her and think to myself, “This can NOT be the body of an eighty-nine year old woman.” She’s never exercised or dieted a day in her life and eats whatever she wants. She had a facelift at seventy. She only has an eighth grade education and worked at a local factory till she retired. Despite low wages, she has invested wisely and is probably better off financially than people with high paying jobs.

She is stubborn, opinionated, vain and outspoken. So am I. Yet we have a great relationship. We argue. We laugh. We discuss lots of issues. She’s well-informed and a good conversationalist.

We are fast approaching the first anniversary of her “fall”.  There always seems to be the fall, doesn’t there? This fall was at my house. On my concrete sidewalk.  From the top step of my porch. The very day my husband and I began tearing up the tile on our living room floor. It was a tough recovery process and not just for her, I might add. Fast forward to last week.

I visit my mom almost every day. I stopped over last week and couldn’t find her anywhere. The doors to her garage were open; the door to her shed was open. I didn’t yell for her because she is almost deaf and seldom wears her hearing aids. (More about that later).  Finally I found her at the end of the house trimming a big bush. She was underneath it with large pruning shears and good-sized branches were scattered everywhere. I watched for a few minutes trying to decide how angry I was going to be. How was I ever going to get her to listen to me about safety issues?

We’ve had a running battle this past year, about wearing a safety alert necklace, using a cane, not going up and down the basement stairs, her hearing aids, etc. I’ve lost every battle except two. She’s agreed not to drive and I now manage her medication.  Anyway, I kept watching her until she noticed me. She looked a little sheepish like a child caught in the act of being naughty. She tried to get up and couldn’t. You know what I did?

Nothing.

Instead, I said, “Well, mom, let’s see how you’re going to figure it out”. She did. She used a rake and when I asked her what she did when she didn’t have a rake, she said, “I crawl till I can find something to hang on to.” Okay then.  I knew she’d been digging up plants and transplanting them and I had wondered how she’d been managing.  Now I had witnessed it for myself. I was impressed. I was conflicted with feelings of pride at her efforts but sad to see her struggle so.

Here’s the big message.

Our aging parents deserve to live the life they want for as long as they can. (Driving being the exception). I’ve fought with my mom all year and she has won. Thank goodness.

So as of today, I quit. She is going to do what she is going to do. The stubbornness that has frustrated me beyond belief is that same stubbornness that has kept her going. When I saw her yesterday thoroughly enjoying her day, when I saw her figure out a way to get up, I knew it was time for me to back-off and let things follow their natural course. I realized that I want her to do as much as she can for as long as she can.  She is probably going to fall again. I don’t know how that will turn-out. There will come a time when she won’t be able to live the life she wants and we’ll deal with it then. But I respect her too much to continue to “manage” every part of her life.  I am so proud of how’s she managed this past year.

So, Happy Anniversary mom. It’s almost been a year since you fell (Sept. 28th) and you’re doing great. You’re a survivor. Hey, you survived me!

~~~~~   ~~~~~

Bio: I am a former hospital chaplain, a research analyst, conference and retreat speaker, bible teacher, writer, and blogger at http://depressionsgift.com

About J T Weaver

The author of "Uphill Both Ways," a thought provoking series of stories about life, family, and growing up.
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20 Responses to After The Fall – Guest Post

  1. Linda D.S. says:

    This is a great post. I love that the idea here is to embrace life in all of its various forms — including its imperfections and limitations — because freedom is ultimately our greatest gift in life.

    My husband chews tobacco. He’s been doing it for years and years since his time in the military. He eats junk food constantly, too. Loves candy and anything sweet. And he doesn’t wear his seat belt. Ever.
    This would be somewhat excusable if he didn’t have diabetes and cancer and general bad luck running rampant through his family. I spent the first two years of our lives together trying desperately to convince him that his habits (namely, the chewing tobacco, and the shameless eating of pizza and gummy bears, and the never ever ever wearing his seat belt) would shorten his life and therefore our time together. I would fuss and give him the face (>:|) that all wives to their husbands when they want them to change.

    But then I stopped.

    Because I realized that his life is his, and that he must live it how he chooses. The freedom to be who he is in great part furnishes the love we have. If he isn’t “him,” then who is there for me to love? I’d rather have a good life with him and pray that we’re lucky and blessed with health and time, than control him and lose the very thing I love most: him.

    Letting go of control over our loved ones is hard, especially when we’re certain that we know what’s best for them. But it’s the only way to really love them. Kudos! 🙂

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  2. Rebecca says:

    My grandmother lived till 102. Maybe I’ll get my book published yet. I figure I have many, many years ahead of me. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. Rebecca says:

    She really is. What I didn’t write is that we had a very rocky road for a long time. To have the relationship with her I have now has been one of life’s biggest surprises and one of God’s most unexpected blessings. I’m so grateful. Thanks so much for your comment.

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  4. Rebecca says:

    Oh my gosh, I’m so thrilled to meet you and so glad you commented. You have made my day a thousand times over. When did you publish your first book. I have one pretty much done. It’s about depression but I have no clue what to do next. You have inspired me. Thank you so much for your beautiful words. God bless you and keep on doing what you’re doing!

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  5. Rebecca says:

    Yes, seeing her struggle breaks my heart every time and yet I’m so proud I think my heart will burst. Thank you for your comments.

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  6. Glynis Jolly says:

    Rebecca, I have a mom just like yours although I can’t really say that she’s kept a small waistline. Every body is different. However, she is stubborn beyond belief, an avid reader of everything and anything, and insists on doing as much for herself as she can. Moms like ours are a blast.

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    • Rebecca says:

      Yes, they are. How old is your mom? I’m beginning to think stubborness is a wonderful trait. As far as her waistline, she has just always been slim no matter what. I’m not a big person myself but unlike her I have to watch what I eat and exercise. Darn! Why couldn’t I have inherited that as well?

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  7. tinapumfrey says:

    This post reminds me of my mémé. She was very independent and active. She went out for her weekly golf at age 81 the day before the stroke that changed the course of her last years. I’m glad she lived it to the fullest for as long as she could. Great post!

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    • Rebecca says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your grandmother. I guess I forgot to mention my mom had a stroke this last year, too. As she said, “It was just a little one.” We were fortunate. She completely recovered. Thank you for commenting.

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  8. ebeams says:

    Ahhh … yes. Words of wisdom. I’ll try to remember them as my mom is just starting through the last stage of her life, courtesy of cancer. I do want her to do anything and everything that she wants to. I want to see her smile and find joy in each day until her days are done. She deserves no less.

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    • Rebecca says:

      I’m so sorry. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “caring” we forget that’s it’s still THEIR life, not ours. You are right, they deserve to live it the way they want. Check back with me sometime and let me know how your mom is doing. Thank you for taking the time to comment when you’re dealing with so much. God bless.

      Like

  9. knitwit56 says:

    You bet. This is just the attitude that kept my grandfather going until he was 103. He lived in and maintained his own home until the last few years of his life.

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  10. What an incredible woman.

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  11. I see myself in your post. At 82 I am capable after the fall with a new hip, shoulders repaired, and so much more. Still a size 4, my voice damaged from spasmodic dysponia ending years of professional acting. But did that stop me? Absolutley not. Now I’ve written nine books published by Vanilla Heart and am on my way through the tenth. You are so right to let mom go about her business and watch from a distance to admire her tenacity. I, too, crawl under bushes, clip and transplant flowers and find something to hang onto when getting up is difficult.

    Thank you for respecting our dignity. We’re the ones who raised children and did the best we knew how without technical advice and devices to help.

    Yesterday, my youngest grandchild blew on a dandelion and wished. When I asked her what she wished for, she whispered, “I wished you’d never die, Granny.”
    Long may we live to continue teaching our kids the way of the world.

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  12. A terrific post. We sometimes forget the importance of independence in our quest to show our love and concern. We watch as children strive and fight to achieve independence, and we have such pride as we stand back and watch them accomplish their quest. Why would we forget that the need does not stop just because we have aged. It only makes the struggle that much more difficult. It is not easy watching children struggle in the early spring of their lives, just as the author reminds us that it is also not easy watching those we love struggle in the fall of their lives. Thank you!

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  13. Phyllis Ring says:

    Wonderful post about the reality of loving — and respecting — those aging ahead of us. Great to have this to share with others today. Thanks.

    Like

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