Facing the fears and tears of growing older

To an outsider, it is nothing but a 220 year old house with numerous problems to be fixed and tons of junk to be removed. To those who grew up and lived in that home, it is treasure chest filled with memories and physical reminders of both good times and bad.

Having spent the better part of the past 10 days either driving or helping sort and pack a house full of "stuff", it amazes me how something can be viewed in one light by one person and entirely different by another. Truly one person's trash is another person's treasure.

Before leaving yesterday morning I sat with my frazzled 81 year old mother-in-law talking about "things". Surrounded by boxes, papers, and a multitude of plates, bowls, cups and other things, my heart broke for this wonderful woman as she struggles with deciding what to keep and what to part with.

My mother-in-law has been very active in church matters her whole life. Her life has always revolved around Christ and she has given hundreds of thousands of hours to charity work, sitting on church committees and even traveling to Africa and Russia on mission trips. Although she is not religious, she is deeply committed to Christ and her lifestyle bears witness to this.

Time and again yesterday morning, Barbara spoke out loud her wonder at how she accumulated so much over the years and her fear of having to live the rest of her life without things which have been her companion for many years. See, my father-in-law (who was a doctor) walked out on the family to be with another woman 35 years ago and once the last child went off to college, Barbara lived in this huge house alone with only her belongings and relationship with Christ to pull her through.

Family members do not understand why she spends hours going through boxes of ancient letters, but both my wife and I do. People advocate she just donate 90% of all she has to charity and start over. How can a 81 year old woman with some health issues do that? It both angers and hurts me to see the lack of patience and understanding so many have for the elderly and what they are facing as they must move out of their refuge and part with things that have kept them company for decades.

The apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:14:

"Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men ."

Without question, an older person many times is "feebleminded" and usually weak. Instead of getting angry with them for disrupting our lives, we need to be comforting, supporting and most of all PATIENT.

As our parents or grandparents get older and older, I pray we all remember to help, comfort and guide them instead of getting mad at them and vanishing. We must always remember that it is the very young, the very old, the very poor and the very sick who need all the love of God in our hearts the most!

 Kirk M
I have been a member of ChristianBlog.Com for 10 years, 4 months and 12 days.
I have published 2,287 blogs and 1,779 comments.
I currently live in: United States.
Kenneth Figurelli

Good blog. when we were children, we were feeble, poopy, smelly, sticky, dirty, sloppy, silly, needy, annoying, etc. Our parents gave us all the care we needed. Now its payback time. - bibleguy64

Vincent Chough

B2Y... thank you for this message. My folks are getting up there and I have to cherish every moment. Yes, Patience...
Grace to you, Vince

K Reynolds

As I read this, I thought about my maternal grandmother who lived to be 96. For more than 40 years, she did not have a home of her own but lived with other people. Most of her things were stored with an aunt down in Iowa but she had a number of things which were "important" to her stored in a dormer attic in my bedroom when I was growing up.

When she was a live-in health aide, she would come and stay with us every weekend. Every weekend she went through the same routine, unless we were going out of town or had some activity planned. She would take all of her stuff out of the attic and go through it. Basically, I did not have my room on the weekends except to climb into bed.

At the time, I could not understand why she would do this but I understand now. I remember how I would sometimes come in and sit on the bed (I wasn't allowed to "help") and she would start to tell me about her "treasures" and the stories behind them. Will we listen?


K :princess:

Scott Sibley

My father pasted a year and a half ago, my mother turns 80 this year, good blog.
If I could asked, you said; "she is not religious but deeply committed to Christ."
Usually you hear religious but not committed to Christ?


My Mother's health is not good, and I frequently struggle with with trying to do what I think she wants... to keep her happy, and/or what is best for her. -Yes, I know that sounds strange, but you are absolutely right... sometimes our loved ones are reluctant to give up their old independent ways (as well as possessions) as their bodies (and sometimes minds) begin to fail them, and it is difficult for them... and us, to face those changes. -You have humbled me by reminding me of the many times she has had to be patient with me as I was growing up, and going through my own changes.

Thank you for that reminder of the need to be more patient and understanding of what all she is actually dealing with!

God Bless! :pray:

Sharon Ruffin

What a wonderful and heartwarming post! There are many times of people's life that we don't understand (time of grieve, serve sickness and growing old) and we don't relieve that some of the things we do speak louder than words. Some actions say "get away from me. You are wasting my time" but some say " i may not understand but I hear you" Yours and kreynolds said the latter. Growing old is not an easy thing to do especially when your children have other families, your spouse is gone (for whatever reason) and most of your friends are dead or as old as you. Their health is getting away from them as is their mind. The world in which they live in is different and changing so fast. So if you have a senior around you do as Thessalonians and blessings2you said and let show them love and patience for the rest of their time here. For when they are gone... . it's too late.

Billy Beard

It is hard for us to understand, we haven't lived it yet, as they are. If they have wealth somewhat, and possessions, it makes for a mess sometimes. People may want a share of them, my father-in-law is fairly well of financially, and he is early eighties, and I have seen some of that mess through him, and family and friends.

She is blessed to have someone like you and Blest, who do what you do for all the right reasons. They just hate the change, and loss of being able to do and care for themselves, I think is a lot of the reason they want to hold on to everything, it gives some comfort.

And it is sad when they are neglected, and have given most of their lives for family. It is a hard undertaking. I pray for all of you. God Bless.

Valarie Quick

My Daddy is 87 this summer. We lost Mama on September 8th. He lost his partner, friend and confidant of 63 years. And the only one who understands why they saved "all that junk". They lived in a dozen different houses in five different states over those years. The house Daddy has been in since 2001 they built with their own hands; 70 and 75 years old.
After the week was over, the memorial, the relatives, the hospice, people started asking me "Will you bring him home to live with you?" I am never at a loss for words, but I couldn't even form a reply.
No. He is staying in he and Mama's home. With all the stuff. The daily reminders of their life together. He has notebooks and maps, letters, and photographs now in every room as he and I work on his memoirs. I know he is working daily on his book. He wants to finish before he joins his sweetheart. The stuff, all the junk, is important to him.
So, my family makes it work. He is my father and my husband and I will honor him. Patience, yes. Understanding, yes. Honor; above all else.

Thanks for a good reminder, b2y. God bless!

shalom! secondrider