Sunday, September 21, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Aging parents remind us of our mortality

By
From page A2 | August 28, 2012 |

It’s hard to watch one’s parents age — in part, I think, for selfish reasons. So it goes as I watch my dad transform into someone who is, well, 87.

In some ways I didn’t have this same reaction to my mom’s illness and, finally, death from cancer in 1995. She was so young, just 62 — which, yes, seems younger now than it did then. Her cancer was so unexpected, so aggressive. In a way, it didn’t even seem natural. In contrast, aging seems all too natural. And if it can happen to my dad, it really can happen to anyone.

He did all the “right” things. He was always into fitness, including skiing, sailing and biking on European trips into his late 70s. He didn’t smoke, had a very satisfying work life, still has an active circle of friends, regularly reads newspapers and has an incredibly positive outlook on life. In fact, while some people — most people, it seems — get a little meaner as they age, my dad in many ways just gets more positive. He never complains.

As I was driving him around town one day recently, the running commentary went something like this: “Oh, my. Look at that dog. Isn’t he a fine one?” “Oh, see that darling little girl in the pink with her mom. Isn’t she cute?” “What a beautiful day it is, and look at this well-kept neighborhood. Isn’t it grand?” And even, when driving through an industrial area a few weeks ago: “What an incredible thing we have commerce that does all this and that we have such a terrific highway system!” I’m not making this up.

So, great attitude, health habits, friends and, of course, family, including five adult children who live nearby.

All the things that are supposed to be protective against the ravages of age. Oh, don’t get me wrong: Dad is still very much with us and still very much Dad. It just seems that recently, in the twinkling of an eye, he’s gotten older in so many ways — and that wasn’t “supposed” to happen!

So back to the selfish part. In our case, meaning for my siblings and me, helping to care for him isn’t the big deal here. He’s in a lovely place he enjoys that provides excellent care, which means the time requirement for my dad isn’t huge in and of itself, and the worry factor is manageable. We are very fortunate. We know that.

I imagine that someday when my dad is gone, and I no longer have either parent, there will be the “orphaned” feeling I’ve heard people talk about. But with a new husband and my children, I don’t suppose that will strike me as hard as it might otherwise, and the grief itself I don’t know how to anticipate. I’ll see when I get there.

What’s here and now is that if he can really age, then I can, too. That’s what strikes me as being selfish. Of course, I remember seeing my dad care for his mom, and my mother hers, in ways I am now caring for my father. So, guess whose turn is next?

Sure, the flip side — as a pastor was saying — really struck me: That he thinks aging is a gift from God in a fallen world because it eventually allows his children to want to let go of this broken life and go on to what is so much better. A parent aging or dying certainly is a reminder of our mortality in any event. All the spin classes in the world are not going to change it.

But I suppose focusing on that reality doesn’t have to be selfish. It can be redemptive if I use it to honor my father and God, and help even my children to see that, really, they are not going to live forever, either. And if I live to 87 and remember how my father genuinely found the wonder in almost everything he saw, and so I seek to do the same at that age? Well, that would be quite the gift, indeed, to my own kids.

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Reach her through hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

County makes recommendations for crude-by-rail

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Hartley House offers look into Vacaville’s past

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1 | Gallery

New toilet paper sizes will wipe me out!

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

 
Coastal Cleanup helps get rid of trash in area

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3, 1 Comment | Gallery

Travis teachers bring creativity to Shakespeare

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

 
Olympians to participate in swim Lap-a-Thon

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Circle of Friends director to speak in Fairfield

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Be alert to stroke warning signs

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

Recovery community works for lifelong sobriety

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Musical merry-go-round at Jazz Festival

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Deadline looms for lobster boil tickets

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5

 
Crashes blocks parts of eastbound I-80 in Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A5

 
Seven Artisans opens tasting room

By Barry Eberling | From Page: B7 | Gallery

BABA makes big spash

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Old Kmart site sees signs of new life

By Brian Miller and Karl Dumas | From Page: B8, 22 Comments | Gallery

 
Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

Potential push for Obama to expand military effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Teams assess damage as California wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

McInerney, Duka help Impact beat Earthquakes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Old pets, new chances: The case for senior adoption

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C4

Jailed, some mentally ill inmates land in lockdown

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Custer youngest winner at 16 in NASCAR series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

Retro-hip barber is growing an ‘empire’ by staying on the cutting edge

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: C6

 
Tense hunt in trooper ambush case hits 8 days

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tour ship runs aground by NYC’s Statue of Liberty

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Chrysler recalling nearly 189,000 SUVs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Fire captain injured in ice bucket challenge dies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
More than 1K people search for missing UVa student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Second man arrested trying to enter White House

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Pope chooses a moderate for Chicago archbishop

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 4 Comments | Gallery

Astronauts getting 3-D printer at space station

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
NATO chief: Ukraine has cease-fire ‘in name only’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Kurdish fighters head to Syria to face militants

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Turkish hostages freed, but questions linger

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Sierra Leone staggers in Ebola isolation effort

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
El-Sissi ready to back anti-IS fight

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Polly Bergen, versatile actress, singer dies at 84

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Sunset Animal Hospital is the best

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for Sept. 21, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
New car’s fuel mileage accuracy put to the test

By Glen Faison | From Page: A8

 
Stores miss bus on public transit

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Will they ever get the message?

By Rod Keck | From Page: A9, 5 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Sept. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

St. Paul pastor’s pulpit? A food truck

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3 | Gallery

 
There is no message of hatred of violence in Christianity

By The Rev. Rick L. Stonestreet | From Page: C3, 7 Comments

Horoscopes: Sept. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

 
My child’s father and I worked things out – but now I’m not so sure

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

.

Entertainment

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Author says Christian novel plagiarized, sex added

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Springsteen picture book out in November

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Erdrich wins lifetime achievement literary prize

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Designer Donna Karan memoir expected next year

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Cardinals look to shake off distraction vs. 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cashner, Padres beat Giants 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Prep boys soccer preview: Indians, Vikings off to fast start

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Patriots big favorites vs. Raiders despite mediocre start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Williams beats A’s for third time with third team

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
College football Top 25

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

No. 1 Florida St survives against No. 22 Clemson

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
Sprint car driver killed in Wisconsin

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Vacaville Christian volleyball team falls in playoffs

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B3

 
Schumacher, Hagan win rain-delayed Carolina event

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Travis Bowl results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Mi Jung Hur, Paula Reto share lead in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

Stars Recreation results

By Daily Republic | From Page: B4

 
Estimated 7,000 fans trade in Ray Rice jerseys

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Sports on TV for Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B5

Gaughan snatches Nationwide win at Kentucky

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

 
Harvick dismisses wins as key to Cup title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6 | Gallery

.

Business

Extended warranties a big sell. Are they worth it?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Recalls this week: fire alarm bases, swings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

US tobacco growers brace for tougher competition

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
Marijuana industry battling stoner stereotypes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

.

Obituaries

George Junior Rhode

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics