Part 1: Dealing with Family Treasures, so your kids won’t have to
As I write my next book – Clean Your House Before You Leave– I wonder about what it is that we should leave. We all leave something behind, good or bad. I am sure we all wish that what we do leave behind is good and something others will value.
The age old consideration of what you leave behind is good memories. Memories of you that your family hold close to their hearts. Well if that is the case then perhaps we should start to cultivate those memories so that will grow and out live us.
With the busy lives we all live at times it is diffucult for us to even consider what our Leavings’ will or could be. Our kids are gown and have their own busy lives. Our grandchildren also have so much going on that just find a time in their busy schedule is next to impossible.
I am reminded of this and what we will leave behind because I feel that some where along the way my granddaughter have cultivated an almost private type relationship. A relationship that I hope will be a leaving she will cherish.
She doesn’t live close to us and getting to see her is a challenge, so we have to use the telephone as our method of communicating. Which may not seem like much on the surface. How can a telephone call leave much in the way of memories? Heck we talk on the phone and half of what we talk about is forgotten the minute we hang up.
And that is probably true, what is different with my Granddaughter is that I have become her chore time partner. Like many children she has things she is responsible for doing at home, clean her room, fold her laundry, take the dog for a walk, sweep the floor and the list goes on. Since she doesn’t like doing those things alone, she calls Grandma and with the phone on handsfree we talk. Well a lot of times I just listen as she goes on about her day, her friends, her school. We even discuss what her Mom did at her age, what I did at her age. So the conversation provides me with updates on her life and of course all the things she thinks her parents are being unfair about. My job here is just to let her vent and not take sides. Somewhere in the conversation I attempt to help her see things from a different perspective, being careful not impose my own thoughts on her.
In addition to those topics of conversation we talk about my family. Since I was 14 years younger than my closest sibling most of them a have already left us. She is naturally curious about them and what my life was like growing up as pretty much an only child. She herself is an only child as is her mother and this piques her curiosity even more.
My point here is that with these long conversations I am hoping that my leavings’ will be the memory of these conversations. Not necessarily the conversations or even what we talked but just the memory of her being able to call Grandma when ever she was bored, or when she had to do mundane chores and just knowing I would be there for her. And for me the memory that she called me!
These are My Leavings’, and perhaps the topic of another book!
I am sure many of you have heard the phrase – Take the step the bridge will be there.
It was an inspirational phrase used to help people accomplish things they thought they never could or would.
Well to me that phrase has two purposes, the first was to write about aging, and the seconded was to encourage others to live their lives to the fullest no matter what their age.
So that is why I am encouraging you to TAKE THE STEP no matter how unclear it appears.
No matter where we are on life’s journey, we need to do things that we consider beyond our capability. If we do not continue to push ourselves, we could soon find ourselves being pushed by others.
That is the reason for my first book about Staying Home written to help us acknowledge what and how we need to prepare ourselves and homes to fit our needs as we age. For many people, the concept of having to do so is something they do not want to accept.
This is where the phrase becomes helpful. By taking the step, you are walking across a bridge that will support you as you age.
By not taking the step you are ignoring the future and what it holds. Make no mistake there is a future, what your future will be is for the most part up to you.
That is why I encourage my readers and my friends to take whatever steps they can to secure the future they want, not the one others will impose upon them when they refuse to take the step.
So if you haven’t read the book let me give you a few of the key steps the book will help you take.
These are just a few of the areas covered in the book.
One of the things that I want to say and that I often tell friends who didn’t consider the above to be some they need to review;
IF YOU CAN”T BE SAFE – YOU CAN’T BE HOME!
So why do I say that? Well, the truth of the matter is if anyone in your family, community or health support system feels that you are not are safe living in the manner you do, they will be the first to insist that you need to live in an “assisted living facility” for you own safety.
That is something I and I am sure many of the people I know do not want to have happen.
So READ THE BOOK, it will help you take the step to walking on the bridge of your choosing, not someone else.
I have written about my current book project titled the Hardest Conversation and think that I should explain that it really speaks to helping aging parents live the best rest of their lives. This book is not about a parent in decline.
The reason this is the hardest conversation is because your parent(s) may/will be very much engaged with life when it takes place. Those parent(s) that are active, and energetic often do not consider the conversation relevant. It is diffcult at times even for ourselves to think about what we need to do or be aware of as we age. To my mind it doesn’t matter if your parents are 60 or 80 when you have this conversation, it is one that needs to take place. When you read the topics covered in the conversation you will see why I think that it will help you (if you are the adult child) realize that this is a discussion we all need to consider as we get older.
The time may come when each of us has to face the final conversation, but for now I think a focus to a bright and enjoyable future is more appropriate. Once this has been addressed no doubt there will be need for that book, but that is in the future. I truly believe that a happy today, pleasant dreams and goals for the future can make this conversation stay quite aways in the future.
Do you know the temperament of your parents, other aging family members or even your own? My new book on “The Hardest Conversation” reveals that is could be critical when having these difficult conversations. I wish I had taken that into consideration when my brother was making some of the decisions he made. If I had known how to address his personality and temperament, I might have been able to help him change his mind about some of them.
That’s not maligning any of the choices people make it simply pointing out that when we have certain information we may active differently. Along with the book, “The Hardest Conversation”, I am writing a short ebook that describes some of the different temperaments, how they change as we age and some of the conflict they can cause.
Just because we are aging doesn’t mean that we are incapable of learning or changing things to make our lives better.
You will find that theme throughout most of what I write, be it a tweet, a facebook, blog post or a book.