While my sisters and I worried, our parents retired, bought an old house to renovate and opened an antique shop. For the first time in their lives, they had time for themselves and no children at home. They were busy and active and enjoyed themselves, until they later developed health problems.
Our book club recently read Terry Kay’s To Dance with the White Dog, which chronicles the life of an elderly man who just lost his wife. Two of his daughters, who live next door, constantly fret over him, convinced that he shouldn’t live on his own. Their concern is genuine, and he bears their anxiety with humor. Crippled from a bad hip, he manages with a walker, fierce determination and a new friend, the white dog no-one else can see. Sensing his frailty, the dog places his paws on the walker and seems to dance as they move through the house. A wonderful story of courage and love.
Our pets can often ease the pain and are welcome companions when life is tough. Check out the video Just a Dog.
It’s hard to see our parents growing older and more frail, unable to drive any longer and more and more dependent on their children or friends. For as long as they are able, we should allow them their independence and the dignity of aging gracefully. That’s what I want for myself.