This spring my Mother died at age 96. For the last 6 years she traveled down the rabbit hole of dementia. For the first 4 years of her slide into dementia she was sometimes right there, and then she diminished into a shell of her former self for the last 2 years.
My sister and I are the we in this narrative. Luckily we agreed on my Mother’s care 100 percent. That may not seem like a big deal but I have witnessed many families torn apart over the care of a parent.
The care of an elderly parent is not the only dominant conversation in a relationship. Friends of mine took a year to plan their wedding, the second for each in their 50’s. My friend confided with me that once the wedding was over since it took up so much of their conversations she wondered what they would talk about.
Empty nesters sometimes feel the same conversational angst. Once the kids are out of the house or launched, what to talk about with the spouse. I witnessed a business associate marriage breakup over this and I don’t think he is an anomaly.
Because I live 3,000 miles away and my sister only 40 miles, she was the face, the first person to respond to my Mother’s care. Any decision however we discussed together. We spoke at least 5 times a week about Mother. During her last year we talked daily.
So much of our conversations were caught up in talking about Mother, paying bills, calculating her money, her clothing and her needs that often we just never talked about us in our conversations. When I would visit we would plan fun times around visiting Mother but still she was the prime reason for my visit.
Now that she is gone I was concerned about the conversations with my sister. Would we have that much to discuss? The answer is yes! Still we talk about Mother, but the housekeeping and bookkeeping chores are over. We are free to remember the good times with Mother and laugh! We can talk about all things now and plan our own old age!
Have you navigated the care path for an elderly parent with others? Have you wondered if your conversations with a loved one centered on one subject can change?