It never ceases to amaze me at the way everything works, develops
and falls into place. God has created such a wonderful system with a
natural order to everything. In His infinite wisdom, God has created
a plan to ease our pain and make the loss of a parent bearable.
children, we are dependent on our parents. They provide all we need
and some of what we want. Our parents find great joy in helping us
take that first step, tasting green peas for the first time, and
going from diapers to the potty. To loose a parent would be
devastating to a child.
Growing older, our parents are still very much a part of our
lives, but we are not totally dependent on them. We are starting our
own life, career, and/or family. Time is spent with friends, as well
as, family. Losing a parent, as a young adult is still hard to deal
with, but we cope and move on.
As we age and become older adults, the relationship with our
parents starts to change again. Our parents start to depend on us to
provide what they need and some of what they want. This shift of
roles is hard to accept for most of us. It is hard to go from being
the child, to being the "parent". There is no joy in helping them
take a step, feeding them green peas, or going from the potty to
diapers. The loss of a person's independence is tough. It is tough
on the parent who can not longer eat or dress unassisted. It is
tough on the child who provides this assistance.
The role change is stressful emotionally and physically. Changing
the diaper of a ten pound infant is considerable easier than
changing a 110 pound adult. The infant smiles at you, giggles, and
rewards you with a coo. The adult frowns at you, mumbles, and curses
you for not changing her fast enough. Your toddler makes cute little
faces as you offer him food from your plate. The adult turns up her
nose as you offer her homemade soup. Your teenage son gives you a
hug for making him a doctor's appointment to discuss acne and other
adolescent problems. Your mother slaps you when you tell her she has
a follow up doctor's appointment to get her medications refilled.
Is losing a parent as devastating at this stage of life as it
would have been years ago? Are you worn out from the additional
physical work of taking care of your parent? Do you look at the
wrinkled, mean, demanding person and wonder where your mother/father
My theory: God has created the life cycle for us so we can
survive. He has worked His plan so by the time we must give up our
parents, we are so physically and emotionally tired, we are
relieved. Guilt should not be felt for feeling this relief. Caring
for our parents shows they were successful in raising us to follow
God's commandment: Honor thy father and mother. We must be proud of
the task we have completed.
This is the natural order of things. We enter this world totally
dependent on our parents and our parents leave this world totally
dependent on us.
Dorothy Bley is a mother, grandmother, and
Godmother. She has written and presented numerous workshops on
childhood education and nurturing parent skills. Just recently she
has started putting all this experience into print. Some of
her recent work is featured on