Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Emotional day…

…today my Dad turns 79! He is incredible! Having only retired 18 months ago, he has taught me all about hard work; but I hope tom learn some lessons from both him and my Mom in terms of how one ages.

My Mom has struggled with her health for the last 16 years. The first time she experienced a heart issue which required admission to hospital was in 2000; since then – cardioversion for atrial fibrillation (x2), triple vessel bypass and valve replacement (2007), hip fracture (x2), and now just a very frail old lady, who is deaf and stubborn. She really has been reduced to a shell of her former self, and can no longer really do any of the things that used to give her joy – sewing, embroidery, knitting, reading, cooking… It’s very sad to witness. It’s also frustrating to watch her, being frustrated with her failing body.

My Dad, hale and hearty, healthy, no chronic health problems – he had a hip replacement electively about 1 year ago; however since his retirement he has retired to his lazy boy chair (god, why are those things so damn ugly?) and watches TV and does soduko puzzles. Not much else. There is no interaction with anybody outside of the home. He sits with a simmering resentment since his retirement travel plans have been scuppered by my Mom’s health. He cannot think of anything else to do and so he sits.

What happened to them? They were both involved members of our community – my Dad was mayor of this town, my Mom was involved in various charity works – Child welfare, CANSA, jersey week – you name it, she did it. Yes, many of their friends have passed away; some have moved away; but I am stunned by quite how isolated and lonely they are. But it does seem to be very much by choice. And it’s not the choice I would make for myself in their shoes. And I guess that is what makes it so hard for me and my brothers. We don’t understand, and similarly they don’t understand my desperation for them.

I’ve tried everything – learn to play Bridge, Walk for Life, help me with the deli’s books, help Charlie with his business, take your granddaughter for a stroll… the answer is always a stubborn “I’ll think about it…” which we all know means no… Damnit, ageing isn’t for sissies, but neither is watching them age.

So today, on his 79th birthday, I am so sad… sad for what my beautiful parents have become, sad because they say no…



  runnermum wrote @

My biggest fear that I’ll get to a stage in life where I’ll be waiting to die. Somebody that used to be close to me has been waiting to die for 24 years now – what a waste of a life.

  charliesbird wrote @

Yip, watching it happen to my mom has been incredibly hard… I miss her so much.

  halberts2014 wrote @

I can so relate. DH’s parents looked after Liam until he was 3. When he went to school they had nothing to do and they have both gone downhill since there. It’s almost like they have nothing really to live for. It’s so sad. Especially if they are in poor health. My mum is only 64 and she has never really been able to look after Liam at all. He only knows her being in a wheelchair.
Good luck with your folks. It’s hard to get them motivated to do anything once they get to this stage. And they can be so stubborn

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