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And Then they Were Old

AND THEN THEY WERE OLD........


Let's begin when and where they began their life together. They were married on June 1, 1941, in Pawnee City, Nebraska. Shortly after their marriage, they moved to California and to be more specific the San Diego area. Nine months and one day after they said "I do", their first daughter, Karen was born. Eighteen months later, their second daughter, Sharon was born. A mere 12 months later, their son, Larry was born. Three young ones in three years and then our Dad was drafted into the Army. After all, World War II was raging. Fortunately, he returned unharmed and they purchased their first and only home in La Mesa, CA. Their home was purchased in 1946, and they still reside there in 2010. An unusual occurrence to say the least. We, as children, had a wonderful childhood growing up in the 40's and the 50's. Our Dad worked hard running a gas station, came home every day for lunch, as our mother was a stay-at-home mom. In those days, this was the way it was done. We three kids grew up, got married and had children. Our children were a delight to our parents. Once our Dad retired, they were able to do some traveling, but then his eye sight continually became worse until he could not longer drive. Our Mom had never driven, so their two daughters who still reside in the San Diego area stepped up to do for them what they had done for us.
This is just a light peek into their lives and now the story we want to tell will begin. The weeks and years, have flown by and then they were old.............
Now it is October 2011, and we find our parents (Mom at 89; Dad at 92) failing rapidly. It has become almost a full-time job for my sister and I, so we knew something had to be done. We need to continue with our lives and yet not neglect our parents. They both have many doctor appointments and are impatient with the wait. They do not hear well and do not retain any information given to them. Are they taking their medications? Are they testing dad's blood sugar daily? Are they taking mom's blood pressure three times a day? The answer to these questions is unknown. We have tried to suggest getting help into their lives, but they are resistant. The only thing we feel we can do at this point, is to back off a little and let them live their lives with less assistance from us. It is a worrisome road, but a necessary one.
We have found it is like dealing with twin toddlers - age 2.
Fast forward to 2012, our parents are about to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary. They told us, no party, "we will wait until our 75 wedding anniversary." Are you kidding me? Their health continues to slide downward. Our dad, age 93, has memory problems, but is still able to pull weeds in the yard, but can't for the life of him fix a sandwich for himself. Our mom, age 90, has difficulty walking and prefers just to sit. She, too, has memory problems, but they continue to live by themselves with their daughters helping every step of the way.
Their grocery shopping is done for them, their bills are paid for them, their pills for the week are put in pill containers, their hair is done once a week--they are basically living in their own home as they wish, but, unfortunately, the two daughters are getting very tired and may be in Assisted Living before their parents.
This story will continue, we don't know for how long, but life goes on and the path is becoming more difficult with each and every day. Our parents are loved and it has been our pleasure to give to them dignity in the twilight years of their life.




Karen Stangl

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