How two little words turned into a lifetime of regret
*Names have been changed to respect privacy.
“Francine” was the middle child and only daughter of “Helen and Jim.” Still living in the same small town, she was the only adult child who still lived fairly close. Her life was full, or so she thought, juggling her life raising teenage boys, one of them in college, her full-time job, and of course, sharing responsibilities with her own home and her marriage. She had not made her parents a high priority, providing a weekly check-in call.
“They’re fine”, Francine says, as friends inquire about them. “They are busy with their church and they took a cruise this past year.”
Even though she lived within 15 minutes from her parents, Francine came by once every 2-3 months for brief visits and wasn’t aware that her father Jim was diagnosed with extremely high blood pressure, or that Helen’s arthritis had made it extremely difficult to do housework around the house.
Helen called Francine one evening. Helen said, “We would sure love to see you sometime.”
Francine said she would try, and it was left for the next subject. Her mother’s pride and desire not to interfere in Francine’s busy life was on her mind, but deep down it was a hint from Helen. Francine doesn’t pick up the hint.
And so the days go on. Days turn into weeks, and finally, after another month, Francine swung by to borrow Mom’s card table for a dinner party. She’s so busy that she barely notices that the house isn’t as clean as usual. She sees Dad napping in his recliner and doesn’t really think about it. She has many things on her list, so she hugs them both, and went on with her day.
The following week, Jim had a massive heart attack that left him in a coma. Through many efforts of medical staff, he died following two weeks and never regained consciousness.
So many words left unsaid…
So many opportunities for memories, lost…
Sadly, this is a typical scenario that happens with many families today. So many are so busy with their own lives. They are too busy to pay attention, and their senior loved ones are too prideful to admit that they need help.
Francine demonstrated they are good enough to borrow a card table from, but did she make the statement loud and clear by her actions that Jim and Helen aren’t a priority in her life? That might not be true in Francine’s mind, but as the saying goes…
“Actions speak louder than words.”
Pay attention to your loved ones.
Take the time to listen and learn.
Accompany them to medical appointments. Help them with chores, and most importantly, make them a priority in your life before it’s too late.
Published with permission, courtesy of “Francine.”
Empowering Seniors and their Families through the Daunting Journey of Aging
Check out the Answers for Elders podcast for new episodes every week!
Try out an episode now by simply clicking the play button below:
No post found!
Originally published March 31, 2023
Bob Carlson, America's leading retirement expert, reveals the big secret the IRS won't tell you.