The Throw Away Parents
I have seen it time and time again. Mom or Dad are badly sick and taking care of them would be a burden to us You know what I mean. We have two jobs. We have tickets to the opera or the kids have soccer, or some other excuse You tell yourself that it is just temporary putting your parent in the home You know they understand being ripped from their home. You'll visit them. They can't expect you to take care of them. After all, we have our lives too. Wrong!!!!!!
I have seen it was too often. The family member forgot when they are in a home. No one comes to see them. The family member says well my son or daughter will come and visit me when their life calms down a bit. I understand. But a bit more of them die every day when they look to see if you come to see them. They become a little quieter and realize that you have thrown them away. They are someone else's problem, not yours. Their birthday comes and goes and not so much as a card or a call. The holidays come and go and not a visit. .Oh well, Mom or Dad says they were busy while inside they cry because they took care of you.
It is bad when they look forward to seeing the volunteer who by now has noticed you have no visitors and will stop and listen to your story about your son or daughter. They see your uncried tears for the want of a visit from your family but none comes. The staff sees you stop smiling because no one comes. You wonder what did I do that my family won't come and see me. You gave them life and they forgot you. You make excuses that they have lives of their own and you would be nothing but a burden. You have bought into at last their lie. You are the throw-away parent.
I see your uncried tears as I decorate your room for the holidays and you have this look of what is the use. My family won't come. I need to be here you think. But as a volunteer, I know that for your family to come for just an hour would make your day. You are not asking them to come every day. I wish I dared call the family and tell them what they're not coming to see you is doing to you but can't. I can only do my best to make you feel wanted and needed. You ask me if I will do one thing for you and I can. I see how much that little thing means to you. If only your family could see how the littlest thing makes you happy. If I do something on my day off I think of the fact how excited you will be to know about maybe the concert I went to or even about the visit I had with my parents or even what kind of food did we eat? Sometimes I sneek you in a surprise food or a small gift. Your smile comes back and then you forget the lie you know your kids tell you. You are important. Then I realize in a few days you are gone but I hope Ii helped you realize you were never a throw-away parent.
I have met another person who I take care of in my spare time in her home. She is a wonderful lady named Gladys. She is always so happy to see me once a week. She can take care of herself except she has pain which stops her from cleaning her own home. She has five children and I have yet to see any of them and they all live in the immediate area. She told me one day to sit down on the couch. She wanted just to talk and I heard a heartbreaking story. She told me that because she was suffering from depression that the kids wanted to put her in a nursing home and she told me she wants so much to stay in her home. I couldn't blame Gladys as she could do everything for herself at eighty-eight and I knew in my heart my kids would have me in a home by that age. All at once, I saw Gladys glance out the window. She really looked so excited at whomever it was outside. Gladys got up out of her chair and went and met her company. I continued with my chores at this point. She called me aside to introduce me to Rick and her wife Wendy. She told me that she hadn't seen them in two weeks. She told me that her son and wife didn't have children and she had mentioned to them what the rest of the kids wanted to do with her and she beamed when she told me that she wasn't going to home ever because these two had said they would move in if it came to that but they would visit her once a week to check on her.
I thought so much about how she could have become a throwaway parent but this child of hers and his wife wasn't about to let that happen. Both of them were retired and they had brought some food to grill and I knew Gladys would always be safe from the fate of a throwaway parent.
It is so hard to watch the elderly get put in a home because they are old. I think to myself how will the young people who threw their parents away feel when their children do the same. I know as I get older I am not in the best of health but my loving husband said there would be no way he would put me in a home. We have both seen the horrible effects it has on people. Those people that are in a home, they have a name, they had a life before the home, they had a family who cared about them at one time. Now Mom or Dad can't take care of the kids for them anymore.
I love to listen to the stories of parents who never have visitors. I learn from the tales of life so many years ago about how maybe they had to make food stretch. Who knows if that may happen again but I will have learned from my friends, the throwaway parents. They take about how they enjoy certain types of music. I tell the activity director and maybe they have a day of that music. It seems like such a small thing to take maybe a half hour to make life happier. While you visit your loved ones you don't have to take care of them. You are just a visitor.
Some people have asked me what do I mean by a throwaway parent? How can I possibly get anyone to understand that when you put your loved one in a nursing home and never have time to come see them you make them a throwaway parent. Some people as long as the parent is in their home you don't have to make an excuse because their home doesn't make you uncomfortable.