My trip home had been planned for weeks, after learning of my mother's recent diagnosis of dementia last month. I could've told you it was happening, but somehow I was still completely blindsided when my mother called to tell me.
A scary dream involving my oldest sister caused me to call her this week before the trip. The worst of my fears had been confirmed during our chat; my mother's dementia is proving to be extremely progressive. I wasn't ready to hear that my father is also not doing well, having a bad fall in the shower a couple weeks ago, which left him there for hours until my mother called 911.
On Friday, I got into an accident in the parking lot of somewhere I hadn't even intended being. The accident caused my one of my backlights to get ripped out and completely non-functioning. The loss of light delayed my trip as I couldn't drive at night without the light. I took it as a sign that I needed to sit still for a bit, though I kept running errands and getting work done until almost 11:30 pm. I have yet to find my off switch.
I finally arrived home in Rhode Island on Saturday after making my way through four hours of traffic. My visit was rushed, but I made the most of every moment. I went home to face my mother in this new chapter.
I have always wanted my parents' love and admiration, their approval and affection. But it has taken me most of my life to understand that's just not how they're built. This trip home, I went out of love instead of for love. Miraculously, I felt the most love from my parents almost ever. I was thankful for the time spent.
Much of my life has been spent trying to avoid becoming like my mother (mentally ill). I can honestly say that I have exhausted a great deal of time and energy in this regard. As my parents are now closer to the end of their lives than the beginning, my perspective has begun to shift. I just want to cherish every moment. With each passing day, I thank God for my Father, who I still have time with, and my mother, whose nature is irrelevant to the love I have for her.
Cherish your parents. Sometimes we put people so far up on an impossible pedastal that we don't appreciate them until they're gone. Don't wait that long.