November 10, 2009

{Children Caring for Eldery Parents Can Be a Ray of Hope for Grandkids}

Recently I was honored to be the guest blogger at the Dallas News Mom's Blog.

 After the blog was posted, there were comments on the blog that touched me and reinforced the vision of this journey, touching one person at a time.  Here is one example of comments from the blog:

Leslie wrote: “You raise a very important consideration for those parents who have chosen not to participate in their children's lives. At some point, they too will only have twice a year phone calls from their children and eventually, no contact at all. As a counselor in a municipal police department, I was called out to assist elderly citizens who called police because they were scared, ill or having difficulty. It was often difficult for us to find a next of kin to contact. The police officer and I would find old phone numbers and addresses, nothing current. I couldn't understand why some of these people were neglected. It could be that there was no next of kin to contact, but in some cases I found that some of the elderly citizens weren’t very nice to their children and other family members. They were left alone because no one wanted to be around them.” 

As I read Leslie’s comments, it reminded me of a story my Maiji (grandma) used to tell me.

In the story, there was a grandma who was getting very old, and the parents, instead of having grandma stay in their home, sent her to a distant elderly home to live. As the grandma left, the parents gave the grandma a shawl to take with her.
The little boy (her grandson), watched all this from the corner. Finally he dashed to the grandma and hugged her as he asked, "Grandma, can I have your shawl, please?" Grandma gave it to the grandson, and the grandson ran with the shawl and cut it into two equal pieces.
The parents, astounded by the rude and strange behavior of the child, asked him why he did that. The child smiled and said, "Mom and Dad, do not worry, now I have shawls for each one of you when I send you out of the house."      
So think for a second, if instead of sending Grandma away with a shawl, parents embraced a more involved role in the life of Grandma, the child too would have seen a ray of hope in relationships.  The child would have realized that as he grows older, he should be present in the lives of his parents.
As I write this, I keep thinking that many a time parents give up as they think it is too late.  Fortunately for us parents, it is never too late as our children never give up on us.  Agreed, as they get older, our children may worry about getting rejected if they try to reach out to their parents, but deep inside they always dream about mom and dad reaching out for them with open arms.
Thank you Leslie and others from Dallas News for your comments.
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