I feel like I'm watching my parents disappear from this world.

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My parents in their 80's are probably in the category of the 'greatest generation'. Their lives seem to have fallen in line with similar paths of others. Dad proudly served this country in the navy, met mom when he returned and they both worked day jobs to put themselves through college. Nobody gave them a dime, but they made their money through hard work and seemed to take satisfaction in that. Dad didn't retire until he was 72 years old. Even then, they were active and volunteered at the local hospital, church and community. They traveled, but remain living in the area they grew up so many people know them wherever they go. Two years ago mom became ill with a broken hip and has declined rapidly with various issues since then. Dad is her primary caretaker, exhausted and tired. They rarely leave the house. Mom says she wants to die. Dad says he has no quality of life. I do what I can to support, help with doctor appointments and help around their home.
What breaks my heart is they way I see the essence of what they are disappearing. Dad even told me "I'm too old for this world". I think what they value ... things like honor your word, live the example, treat others as you wish to be treated, respect of country, always take time for kids/grandkids are things that nobody seems to have any regard for. People seem to have no patience with them, don't take any time for them.
Is it just me? Does this happen to every generation as they age?
My parents always had me and my sister's family at their house for Christmas, but this year let my sister host the dinner. At the last minute mom felt ill, and couldn't make it. My sister's 25 year old son said "Oh great, do we have to just mope around all day because they're not here?" I cringed. My sister kept telling me that it's not all about mom & dad and she wanted her kids to have a good holiday. So, she never mentioned our parents at all during the dinner. Nobody did. I stayed briefly and left. I've never been close to my sister and will likely never return to any "holiday" celebration with her again.
Is this odd? Do I have a self-absorbed sibling raising similarly-focused children?
I find it heartbreaking. Does it always come down to this?
Thanks.

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I, too, wish I had hugged my mom more as she was slipping away. I was there but I was also juggling work and other commitments, so I let Dad do most of the care-giving. I should have gotten them some assistance (or taken a leave of absence) but she didn't want a stranger around and Dad was task-driven, trying to keep up the house. I'm not sure he could have handled it any other way. But I am sure she felt alone. I wish I knew her as a person besides being my mom. Now I have to figure out what Dad needs at this stage of his life, waiting to die.
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I think the old "do unto others" from the bible fits. If everyone could just take the time to try to look at things from another's perspective whomever that person might be and treat them how you yourself would like to be treated, that would go a long way. I don't care if it's your grandmother, your teacher, the guy begging for change..............whoever.

I think the problem today is nobody wants to feel uncomfortable for even a couple of hours. It's so much easier to leave grandma across the room and ignore her than to sit and hold her hand. Who cares if she isn't making sense or she is a crabby old bat, do it anyway.

Of course, I'm not speaking to those of you who always had estranged relations with parents who abused you are something equally as horrible. But if the worst thing your parent, your sibling, grandparent...........,did to you was grow old, then take the time to be nice. You'll feel better afterward too.
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SueC1957: I am so very sorry to hear about your son. The drug epidemic is at an all time record in the state of Maryland. Our Gov. Larry Hogan has really stepped up the programs that will try to eliminate the problem. Needless to say, he has his hands full. Big hugs ((( ))) to you.
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I totally understand the feeling of a parent's essence slowly vanishing. My 2 adult sons and I are the primary caretakers of my soon to be 89 year old mom (Alzheimer's). She lives with us and has lots of bad days. She has stated she wants to die now for years. She has also been incontinent for years, and now can barely walk. She regularly refuses to eat but when we put food in front of her and go through the motions of sitting down with her to eat, she always starts eating too. We've learned to ignore so much and simply trudge forward with life. I've made playlists of her favorite music (from the 40's and 50's) and have lots of CD's as well as DVD's of her favorite shows. During her bad days, it's always so hard to reach her, but when she does have a good day, she'll tell me how much she loves me; I love her good days.

My 2 older brothers are vacant from her life even though they live close. I've had a terrible time coming to terms with this, but I try to focus on the wonderful things I can provide my mom. I am beyond grateful that my sons can juggle their lives around and be there for my mom which gives me a break. They also have friends (in their 20's) who treat my mom with respect, and so much love! I don't think it's an "age" thing. It is definitely a "values" thing. How can family members who grew up around my beautiful mom not be there for her? I get it, it's not easy to see someone you love in such decline, but the knowing you weren't there when they're gone will be far worse.
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Dear Ginger May:
I looked after my parents for 20 years. My mom died of stomach cancer in 2003 and my dad died of coal miners lungs disease in 2014. I agreed to move in with them with my family for the sole purpose of caring for them. My sisters were very much against me staying to watch my father. They told me "daddy doesn't need anyone to care for him". My father begged me to stay and so I did. My father's decline was long and painful for him. Hospital visits were more frequent and longer. The last 2 years were terrible. Constant oxygen machine and still he had shortness of breath. My father spent the last 2 years on the love-seat in the living room. I made dinner every night (always his Italian favourites) and instead of sitting at the dinner table, my four children and I sat around him and kept him company and chatted. We always made him feel needed and appreciated. One night at the hospital after his surgery to insert a drainage tube in his lung, he started bleeding profusely from his lung. I thought he might die that night. I called both my sisters. My younger sister told me to call him if he died. My older sister said "what can I do if I come? I'm at the cottage and they are having 3 days of Christmas activities. I've taken my grand daughter every year and I don't want to disappoint her". Call me if he dies and we'll deal with it." I said nothing. My father was there for his 3 daughters always and sacrificed so much to give us a good life. Why can't you sit your children and grandchildren down and explain that life isn't always about good times. Nonno needs us. He is probably terrified and wants to say goodbye before he goes to heaven. My father did not die that night. He lived on another year. I invited them over for Family Day (Canadian Holiday) and they declined. My father passed away on Oct 14/2014. That was one day after Canadian Thanksgiving. I cooked turkey dinner and my four children and I ate dinner with him at the hospital. He was so happy and grateful and so were my kids. The next morning the nurses woke me (I slept at the hospital on a camping bed with him) to tell me that it was his time. He died in my arms while I thanked him for being such a great father to me and my four kids (their father left them 10 years prior). My children learned to sacrifice for my parents at a very young age and believe me that lesson has moulded the wonderful young adults they are today. We will ALL get old and die. We will be treated in the same way we have taught our children to treat our dying parents. What goes around, comes around. My sisters have been fighting me for my special inheritance for over 3 years now. They are rich so I am sure to lose the last 20 years of my life to them. They can take the money I deserve, but they can't ever steal the relationships that I built with my mom and dad. Shame on them and all the greedy siblings on earth. If it had been me, I would have had Christmas at your mom and dad's. Your sister will live on to enjoy many more celebrations, but your parents won't. We should teach our children and grandchildren that life is not always a party and maybe if Christmas had been celebrated at your mom and dad's, your nephew might have reflected on that day when your sister will get old and very sick. He may have decided that she will deserve to be surrounded by family and love. That ship has most likely sailed. Our elders should be "treasured" not discarded or be thought of as a burden in the last years of their life. I will end here because I could write a million pages of what I learned in the past 20 years. Good luck Ginger May
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I taught my son all the "correct" behaviors. He went to Sunday school. He knew to be polite to adults. He knew to interact with grandparents even though they could be "boring" at times. He knew about writing thank you notes and to say Please and Thank You.
I showed him how to be responsible by taking care of my dad, his grandpa. "Mom, why do you do all that stuff for grandpa?" "Because I'm his only kid and he needs help. Sometimes I don't want to but it's the right thing to do."

During his teenage years, I thought he wasn't as polite (maybe to me) but I heard good things from his friend's moms. Then came heroin. That wiped out everything I taught him. The drug stole my son and all the values he had. He conned me out of thousands of dollars and virtually ignored me and his grandparents except for what we could give him.
My son and I don't get along due to his addiction and I know there will be nobody to do anything for me when I get older. I've come to grips with that.

It took me a long time to admit that my son, who was a GATE kid in school with a higher IQ than me, could turn into someone that I don't know. I did my best to instill the proper morals and responsibilities but narcotics have taken all that away.

He admits that I did all the right stuff as a parent and that his addiction is his fault. Somehow that is no consolation. You can do your best but your kids' choices are the end result.
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I wished I realized the my mom was very slowly disappearing from the material world and I have come to think that it is just part of the process of dying. Although, I did everything for my mom now that she is gone I wished I did more or differently. A friend had told me that anything my mom might do or say that is hurtful to ignore. Best advice every. I was sole caretaker, sibling lived out of state/town. That was OK with me I knew I was giving her the best. I just wished I had asked more questions and hugged her even more. She wanted to be independent and I let her have as much as she wanted. Unbeknownst to me, 2 weeks before she died I took a series of pictures her. She loved all the extra attention and fuss I made over her. Now it's the best memory I have of her lasts days. I remember telling myself that I must always smile and be cheery with her even when things seemed tough. The tough times only lasted briefly and I just let it go. I miss my mom so much. She died in June. My dad had died in a car accident when we were both young I was 27 he was 51. I know I had a though time with that too as he died instantly in a car accident. But I always remember his last hug and the feel of his T-shirt. I was a daddy's girl. I was lucky to have a fabulous mom and dad.
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I do understand your concern for your parents, who you dearly love. I'm sending hugs to you. ((( )))
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My husband and I were just talking about the Millennial generation and about the social skills they are not learning. It gets to the point when one of 20 year old nieces or nephews cannot pick up a phone or write a thank you note at best for a gift we have given them that we just don't want to do it anymore because of the rudeness they exhibit. What is happening with the social skills of the college age generation? They're non existent! Part of it may be that their parents are often working multiple jobs. I just don't get it! I was brought up in a society where one says "thank you" and "you're welcome" and honors our elders by treating them with dignity and respect.
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I apologize, I was trying to message from my cell phone and didn't do it correctly.

We are disappearing from this world. I am 83 hubby 86, most of our friends and family of our generation are gone. One problem we have is all our repair people are either retired or dead. We have to get all new electricians, plumbers, pest control. Who do you trust? All the guys that would come over and help us move heavy stuff for a 6 pack are either dead or too ill. We are disappearing, and that is a fact. Just think when we get to the other side, they will all be there and tease us by asking what took us so long.

My 2 girls call me, both live too far away to be of any help. Grandchildren too. Everyone is trying to get by in this life. I call them. I Facebook. All of the grown ones connect to us that way. I call my 91 year old aunt in Texas, she is in AL. Most of the time I get "Honey, can I call you back? I am (choose one) playing cards, playing Bingo, listening to music". I volunteer, I know my days are numbered with that because my husband is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's.

I am trying to plan my life so I won't be a burden to my family. My mother used to say, you pay for your raising by raising your own. The bible says, That is why a man will leave his father and mother and cling to his wife and the two will become one. To me that means that the younger generation should go off on their own. My two oldest granddaughters, live in the Seattle area, I live in So. Cal. Once a year, I pay for them to come and see me for a couple of days. While they are here they see all the family and friends if they have time. They work, they have to live where work is. We make choices, some people want to stay where they are even though it means giving up a social life. I know it hurts to see your parents ignored by the kids, but they aren't as attached as we are.
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