“I feel so bad cause seniors are abandoned”; “Isn’t it awful when the kids are not there to help their parents?”
Hearing those words makes me want to go around the bend, and the other day I received an enlightened moment that helped me understand why.
Someone said these exact words when she found out what I do for work: “Ah I feel so bad for seniors. They are so often abandoned.” A moment of silence allowed a thought an opportunity to come to the surface.
Leaning in I said, “Honestly, in part, it is seniors who abandon themselves and they have a big role to play in their choices and in their lives.”
That seems right to me. Really, throughout life there is so much chatter and noise with raising a family, working hard to make ends meet, taking care of a home, travel for work…….many of us even at a young age, even in mid life would seem abandoned if we pared down and removed all the noise and activity. I know I was. (“Was” being the operative word.)
Quick stint on how I lived an abandoned life without anyone knowing. Married, two children, sizable home, my own home based business, authored a book, time dedicated towards passions…so many parts of my life were and are full. Parts were completely empty. So many birthdays spent alone. So many puzzled moments wondering when my partner would show up. I chose an emotionally abusive relationship because I did not think I deserved better. I, in turn, abandoned myself. I chose that path until I literally could no longer breathe and felt like there were no more muscles in my cheeks with which to form a smile. You would not have known. You would not have known because I radiated as much sun as I could. Life has always been good and it is meant to be good. But from 19 to 46 years of age, though I filled my life with lots of things that filled my bag and made me skip, my inner core was abandoned by none other than me. Should I have been pared down from all the buzz and chatter around me you would have seen an abandoned person.
As for the comment about children abandoning their parents, I believe every relationship is a two way street. Everything was dropped on my end, and willing to help my parents when they needed help to relocate. My assistance was not always accepted. All I can do is offer, it is up to the other party to accept the offering in. If I was not there when my parents transitioned, I never once abandoned my parents, they did not know how to let my love or assistance in. If they looked abandoned, then they chose that and if anyone wishes to judge, then be my guest, but please obtain both sides of the story.
A few years ago, over a period of one week, two seniors said to me: “Yeah my children/grandchildren do not call. I wish they did.” ……..my response to both was “Have you called them?” ….”Well no because I do not want to bother them!”–so when did relationships become a one way street? If you do not make someone’s phone ring I doubt that your phone will ring, at any age. –In a sense those two seniors stepped back and no longer engaged in certain relationships. Who, at that time created levels of abandonment?
So many people chose to numb themselves, burrow in their pain….I am just coming to the surface now from years of not seeing, accepting nor understanding my inner sadness where I abandoned huge parts of myself. I know what it feels like. I know what it looks like. I know what life is like when you choose to abandon yourself. With noise, life and so many thing going on, many people do not look abandoned but inside, I think, they are screaming. Pare us down, even at a young age, and many, I believe, many would look abandoned. Yes we all have a handicap, yes we all have weaknesses, yes we all struggle to understand life, yes parts of ourselves we abandon but life gets too busy for it to be clearly visible. When we get to 86 or 92 all becomes raw and exposed.
So does that mean that we are abandoned as seniors? On many levels I disagree, I think it happens way beforehand.
Personally, if seniors ‘are abandoned’ they have a huge role to play in it. How they lived. How they nourished and nourish their relationships. How they engage in their own life. How they let love in. How they accept care in. How they lean into their lives. Honestly, just like you and me at every age what role do we play in our own abandonment? It is for us to stand up and not abandon ourselves ever, or to rectify it if we did abandon ourselves. It is never too late.