Watching our parents go through the aging process is not easy. I find myself in two different mental states as I deal with my own stress and extreme sadness. The first part of the process that I am encountering is trying to help in any way I can. This involved trying to find the right assisted living facility for them, as well as begin to organize all of their belongings that they have accumulated over the years. This first stage of the process is wanting to do everything and anything I can to ease the load for them because I see the struggle and want to ease it.

Secondly, I am dealing quietly with my own suffering and pain as I watch this process and see the dad that I used to know, fading before my eyes. He is not the same man he once was. He is having hallucinations and is constantly mixed up and confused. In the very lucid moments, I see a glimmer of the intelligent, kind, generous, brilliant, helpful man that I know him to be. In other moments, I see the confused, helpless individual that I don’t know and don’t want to see him turn in to.

How does one feel this pain, while adjusting to the transitions that accompany aging? The circle of life is a painful process to watch. We live our lives moment-to-moment and day-to-day. The sadness that overtakes me on occasion is something that I know that I have to move through in a way that speaks to me, step by step, honoring my emotions and sadness as they come.

Throughout our lives, we experience ages and stages of development from our own experiences, and from watching others. When it comes to difficult periods in life, sometimes we have to let go of the image of the old, perhaps with grief and connect to the present state of those around us. It is difficult at times but the more we renew our relationship with what is, the easier it gets.


  1. Dear Sue

    I really feel your sadness and am also in a similar position myself. I have also worked with older people for most of my nursing career and have learnt to focus on what they are still able to do and find the magic moments in life. I think you’re right to connect with the present and be in the moment, something that our frenetic lives have lost. So maybe we can stand back, be still and just be present with our parent. If you would like to contact me I could give you some tips about helping with hallucinations, such as making sure the room is light, help your loved one get as much daylight as possible and write a journal noting when the hallucinations occur and what may trigger them

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