Adapting to something new can be hard. We recently went to the state fair of Texas. There is a new and “improved” Big Tex, who stands high with brand new boots, brand new clothes, and a brand new voice. The old Big Tex, built in 1952, caught fire last year and was destroyed. So the choices were: 1. No Big Tex or 2. A NEW Big Tex.
Some people were devastated over the loss of the traditional one that burned. But great measure was taken to assure that this new one is authentic and even better in ways. Honoring the past doesn’t have to mean never changing anything. We must be open to new traditions while holding onto the best of the past. Big Tex is the perfect example of that — it was not a choice to hold on to the past in his case because the old one was gone.
In caring for your elderly parent, you will have to have changes that occur — in their medications, in their living circumstances, in their mobility and abilities to get around, and therefore, where and when they can go places. I remember the first year my dad did not choose to go the state fair — he was tired all the time and frequently felt weak — it just seemed like too much trouble to him. I couldn’t believe that he was OK with giving up this lifetime of tradition; we never missed a day at the fair. But, for him, it was time to make a change in tradition. We missed him that first year and we brought him salt water taffy; he was happy (although diabetic!) with that.
Honoring your parent doesn’t mean you have to do the same exact thing forever — change will be necessary as they age (and as we all age and change!). Hold on to what you can and be flexible with the rest. In all areas of life, if we learn to be flexible with our control of people and circumstances, it will serve us well.