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I was sitting with several people the other day, and we were discussing how difficult it is to cope with aging parents.

There are a number of different reasons for this. It is hard to see them age. These were the people we use to think could solve almost any problem. They were the ones who use to take care of everything in our lives, and now they seem to find even the smallest of life’s tasks a challenge.

Then there are the stories they want to tell us- repeatedly.  The old tales from the past we have all heard on hundreds of occasions or the incident that happened just this morning that we are listening to for the third or fourth time already.

It got me to thinking that life is, in fact, a circle. If we are lucky we start life being cared for by loving parents. I realize this is not always the case, but I was one of the fortunate ones.

It was my experience that part of a  parent’s job was to read us the same stories repeatedly.  They were the ones that took us by our hand and walked with us to kindergarten for our first day of school. They knew we had to start  growing up,  and they hoped we would find new friends and adventures.

Then if we were really lucky our parents became adult friends with us. It doesn’t always work out this way but for some of us, we got time to enjoy the company of our parents as friends.

At some point the relationship changes again. The child becomes the caregiver, and the parent becomes the cared for. The parent takes the child’s hand to steady him/herself, the parent becomes the passenger in the back seat and the guest for Christmas dinner at one of the daughter/son-in-laws houses.

There may even come a day when the child takes the parent by the hand to a strange new building. It is not kindergarten but a retirement home and the child leaves the parent  hoping they will make new friends.

Several years ago I went to the hospital with my Mom. The young doctor came out and told my brother and I,that she had had a massive stroke, and she would not come out of it. It might take an hour or a few days, but she was going to die.

For 4 days  and nights my brother and I sat with her and slept in her room, and we were with her when she left this world. She had brought us into it, and we were there with her when she left. Life it seems had come full circle.

I found this short movie clip called- “An Old Man, son, and a sparrow.” It  captures much of what I was trying to say in this post. It has English subtitles- take a moment and experience this touching story, and if you still have your parents think about giving them a call.

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