ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Considering Ohio

Updated on October 9, 2012

An aging parent simply wants to go home

My friend was insistent about wanting to leave. “I have to move back to Ohio,” she said, “back to the farm.” Her son has tried time and again to explain why, given her age and declining health, this isn’t a practical option. She is 92.

My father said similar things before he died, a few months short of that same age. Confined to a nursing home, and quite furious at his loss of independence, he insisted and at times commanded that he be released. His sites were not set on Ohio, but rather on a town not far to the east where he’d lived as a child. At first he simply saw himself freely walking the streets, in defiance of his wheelchair, but when questioned as to how he would live, he amended his plan to include being housed by a friendly librarian.

My brother relentlessly challenged the unreality of my father’s dreams, attempting to summon the level-headed and practical approach to life he’d always shown. In an unexpected twist, however, my father devised increasingly complex versions of the reality he so desperately wanted to see. He said he could lie in a dresser drawer, for example, have the dresser removed from his room, and then once outside, escape from the drawer and be free.

We all knew the freedom he really desired – the freedom of a man 40 years younger, who could come and go as he pleased. He wanted freedom from the nursing home, from the body that could no longer walk and barely hear or see. He wanted to be the head of a household, to have a wife and children who would care for him. He wanted to be young again, to no longer be 93.

I have a number of friends with parents in this age range, and they all, in various ways, cling mightily to the way they once were or dreamed they would be. Their children are exhausted, saddened, and confused at the change, all adamantly vowing to not be “like that” when they age. I wonder if our parents made that same vow. I guess we may never know.

It seems that in some ways the miracles of medicine have grown faster than the wisdom as to how and when they should be applied. In the “old days,” though I say that without having the slightest idea of where the line between then and now should be drawn, I imagine that many a Grandma or Grandpa fell sweetly asleep while sunning in their rocking chair on the porch, and just never woke up. Quiet, natural, hopefully as painless as a transition could be.

I imagine that when their senses began to fade – when the sight, smell, mobility, and hearing that kept them tethered and engaged in this plane had ever-so gently stopped pulling on their attention – they’d drawn inside themselves to a deeper place, and become kind dispensers of both wisdom and love. No antibiotics, CPR or IVs revived them again and again; no meals were forced upon them. They did what was natural, and when their bodies wound down they simply drifted away.

So in this age, for those we keep wakening, long past the time they were meant to rest, it’s understandable that they might want to live on a sweet farm Ohio, or retreat to the loving ministration of a childhood librarian friend. What else is left? The current legal and ethical quandary surrounding when to medically intervene will be with us for a while. Perhaps we have yet to discover the greater wisdom in keeping people alive beyond the point they can enjoy life. It’s hard to know. Perhaps we, as a society, need to stop fearing death – to embrace it as being a natural step into another realm; to stop seeing death as a failure of medicine to succeed; to stop using medicine as a panacea for our fear of the unknown.

So what is left? For now, kindness towards those who are suffering. For the future, perhaps developing a personal philosophy and faith that will sustain us to the end; to find strength and peace that will endure when facing the unimaginable; that will remain when social facades and the desire to spend energy sustaining them have long slipped away.

Or one could, I suppose, simply move to Ohio; to be the person we've always wanted to be; and to live fully the life we've been given.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)