It's hard to keep perspective when you are in the midst of turmoil and change. It's all too easy to give in to fear and negativity, especially when life events conspire to add to your stress.
It has been a difficult 6 weeks. My parents are both ill and have had multiple hospitalizations and surgeries in that time. The latest surgery was yesterday afternoon. My mother needed a decompressive laminectomy for severe spinal stenosis. That means that her spinal cord was being squeezed by a narrowing of the bones of the spinal canal. She was losing strength in her legs and the sensation in her feet, making her a high risk for falling.
I was just able to speak with her over the phone and she sounds very frail and scared.
It's a strange and terrible thing to witness your parents' frailties. I know I am lucky to have both parents alive in their middle 80s. I never thought of them as old, even though they could have easily been any of my peers' grandparents. In their 40s they became parents of a newborn--me--but to me they were just my parents. I didn't think they were unusual or different from the other grown ups around me. And now by most definitions, they are 'elderly'. I'm not sure how that happened.
I am practicing gratitude. Gratitude for the relationship I have with my parents. Gratitude for the love of my husband and children, for the support and caring of friends.
No matter what petty disappointments or daily frustrations I encounter, nothing can take that gratitude away.