Love Them the Way They Are

I was talking to a friend recently about my parents.

My siblings and I have tried to help my parents in so many ways yet they rebuke most suggestions and those they seem to agree to are quickly forgotten as they return to old habits. My help with their bill payments is window dressing and our visits are more a test of our patience than allow any of us to really help them downsize, organize or manage their daily life.

When I shared my concerns over what’s been happening and that together they are dragging each other down, my friend suggested we “love them the way they are.”

They swore to love each other in “sickness and in health” so why would I even contemplate that they might be better off apart?

It’s such a simple thing and makes so much sense. We can’t force them to stop driving, simplify their lives or accept any help managing their days, so why am I going nuts over it? I have and will continue to try to help when the opportunity presents itself.

God gave them a choice and they continue to exercise it daily. My job is to simply “love them the way they are.” Swallowed.

4 thoughts on “Love Them the Way They Are

  1. I feel your pain, and respect your thoughts, but I’m not sure I agree because it has to do with safety–both theirs and the safety of others (particularly with driving). Even when we were young, although they loved us the way we were, they steered us in the right direction when we were unable or unwilling (or both!) to make decisions for ourselves. My feeling is that it’s our turn to do that. I completely respect your thoughts on this, but speaking from experience, when I initially tried to do this, it came back to haunt me–in phone calls, in late bills, in fender benders. In the long run, we need to gently and respectfully take control to protect them and those they impact each day. It’s a painful choice, but a choice made out of love.

    1. Hi Butch — I agree on the safety, but we are at a loss unless we move to sue my parents for guardianship. That is really the last option left to us to make any real change. I really don’t want my parents to spend these days in a lawsuit with their kids.

      My siblings and I will continue to watch and assist as we can but we can’t make them change or accept our help right now. We have tried a variety of appeals, letters, talks, examples for more than a year.

      This is a monthly cycle I seem to go through. I get to a point of hopelessness and pure frustration because I continue to try and worry about them and there is nothing, short of suing them, I can do to make them change. All the laws are in place to allow them to keep their rights, including driving (if you got the DMV to rescind their license, do tell!)

      They unravel the safety nets we put around them over and over and over.

      Thank you for the note.

  2. It is a difficult line to walk between respecting their rights as adults and taking care of them due to mental capacity issues. I never was totally satisfied with my interactions with mom and dad until the last 4 months of mom’s life when they went into assisted living. But, if you believe they are unsafe drivers, call their physician and/ or the drivers license bureau. Ask the doctor to report them as unsafe drivers, or tell the drivers license bureau you think other need to be retested. I was so thankful when dad stopped driving. He cut down his driving a lot first, but any time he was on the road I worried. His neurologist though insisted it WAS safe for him to drive, so it was harder to convince him it wasn’t. Good luck as you take this day by day.

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