I’m listening to the audiobook “Water For Elephants” now. It has me completely captivated. The story is told as a series of memories from the point of view of Jacob Jankowski, the lead character. When the story begins, Jankowski is either 90 or 93 (he can’t remember) years old and living in a nursing home.
As Jacob describes some events that unfold in the nursing home, my heart breaks. I immediately think forward to when my parents will be his age. What will their lives be like when they’re elderly? Will they want to live in a nursing home? Or would they rather live with their children? Thinking about them being taken care of by strangers fills me with sorrow and dread. Unless that’s their express interest, there’s no way I can let that happen.
I also started imagining what daily life would be like if my mom came to live with us. For some reason, I don’t picture my dad in these future projections. Mostly since his health isn’t the greatest; he’s a compulsive overeater whose body is showing all of the signs of a lifetime of excess food: Diabetes Type 2, heart problems, etc. That’s another story, for another day, though, and not all that relevant to the point of my little story here.
Envisioning my mom and I living together as older women actually brought a smile to my face. We’ve not always had the best relationship – especially through my teens and twenties – but today she’s someone I feel a need to connect with on a regular basis. When I don’t talk to her for a few days, I start missing her. I think we would actually have a good time together in our twilight years. Of course, a lot would depend upon her attitude. She tends to get depressed when she doesn’t feel good physically. She also has a lot of back problems. For my little daydream, though, we’re sitting around the kitchen table sipping on hot tea and enjoying our moments together.
Of course, I know I’m projecting into the future (just a little, hmm?), but I think it’s good to come to terms with these types of things with oneself. Knowing where I stand on this issue for my family gives me a sense of peace. Just as a side note – I don’t hold any opinions or judgments about anyone else and their family situation. I know that everyone has to do what works best for them.
With all this being said, I still hope we have many, many years before any of this comes to fruition. I’m looking forward to having a long and rewarding relationship with my mom (and dad!), but I’m also wise enough to know I need to just enjoy the time I have with them today. Speaking of which, my mom is pinging me on instant messaging now. Time to go.