Friends were talking about how our parent’s generation (born in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s) was not one to show signs of affection – keeping their feelings to themselves.
Some blamed this on the era in which our parents lived: austere times of the great depression and world wars. Although, my generation was raised on TV, our parents had all the drama they needed in life: survival taking a back seat to demonstrative displays of love… especially from men.
So, how do we take care of our elderly parents while still feeling the after-effects of a less than loving relationship?
In addition to physical problems, some have parents suffering from dementia: sometimes lucid; sometimes delusional.
“Some days are diamonds / Some days are stone / Sometimes the hard times/Won’t leave me alone” – Some Days are Diamonds by John Denver
It’s common-place to see men much more involved in their children’s lives – playing soccer, at the rink – it`s easily a 180 degree turnabout on how things were: mainly cheerless, often abusive.
“In my little town, I never meant nothin’
I was just my father’s son”
– My Little Town by Paul Simon
Do you know your parents love you?
Most would give their parents a passing grade. Yet not all. Love is as love does, but a divorce changes everything… everybody.
I know that, for me, growing up in a divorced family,with narcissistic parents, it wasn’t easy. Yes, I felt love, but it was conditional on me showing allegiance to one side or the other: “Love” could be revoked, at any time.
On the other hand, couples who work at improving communication, give appreciation and approach each other with humility and support are more likely not to have such issues. So, I missed many signs of love – especially from my dad – except the time on his deathbed and unable to talk, he gave me a last note he had scrawled out.
Looking back, it was one of those ‘father-and-son’ moments I’ll never forget – to his only child… a son he had kept at arm’s length all his life.
You can barely make out the question he poses: “Are you late Fred?” (He knew I was en route to a job interview in another city.) And, “ …hope the Will is okay.” His final legacy: a man with barely hours left to live (which he kept secret) worrying about me!
Was I worthy of such a love as this … these few pitiful written words … all that separated us from eternity? I realize, now, he was saying goodbye.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. And, when I think back on all the people who cared for me – some more than others – all fit together to form a mosaic of my life: spelling out, ‘Forever Loved!’ Something I never appreciated for years. My dad was a piece of that puzzle… one that wasn’t filled in, for my eyes to see, until it was almost too late.
Still, some say it’s not manly to show emotion. Well…
“Gather round all you clowns /Let me hear you say
Hey, you’ve got to hide your love away” – by The Beatles
That’s the way I figure it. – FP