Freedom to Love

Recently I returned from seeing my parents in their “new” home. It has been a tumultuous nine months as events unfolded requiring my change resistant parents to be directed by adult protective services to move into assisted living (Mom) and skilled nursing (Dad). As their daughter and a licensed social worker I had tried to encourage preplanning and emphasize the importance self-care. Not surprisingly it fell on deaf ears, literally and figuratively. A combination of Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, Heart Disease and hospital stays were no match for the will of my mother to keep her and her husband in their home. Honoring self-determination and my faith kept me grounded as natural consequences soon included action.

The whirlwind required a quick turnaround. At first my eyes and heart could only see the roadblocks and tornado’s I had spent a lifetime addressing and dodging. Impossible tasks that required the responsible perfectionist with intense focus to show up.

To be honest, it is the part of me I have spent half of my life appreciating because it kept me safe and the most recent half learning to let go of.

I was wrong. I didn’t need responsibility or perfectionism this time. Using my new tools I changed my view even before I took the first step. Acceptance, gratitude, grace, connection and vulnerability all played a part in easing the journey. Living arrangements, care, a home sale and oodles of other details fell into place.

This past month I witnessed a beautiful change in the relationship of my parents. It was a challenge for my parents to be separated for nine months and yet during that time they have given birth to a new phase of relationship. Their relationship has shifted from one of care provider and patient to husband and wife. I imagine them as a 17 and 20 year-old starting out and can feel the newness and innocence of their love. They are experiencing the Freedom to Love deeply and eternally. As I witness their connection my role as oldest child and guardian melts away and I too feel the Freedom to simply Love.

I feel grateful for my mother’s determination and will. She has worked hard to let go of the need to be a nurse to her husband and she has succeeded. It is because of her efforts to grow and move forward in her vision she will be with her husband once again.

I have a big surprise for them. To me it feels like Christmas. Tomorrow I make the five hour drive to move them within thirty minutes of me. I have found an assisted living location to provide the needed medical care for each while they care for their hearts together. All is Well, All is Well, All is Well.

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