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BY MADISYN TAYLOR
Dealing with an aging parent is part of the challenges and blessings that are part of the cycle of life.
For most of us, a natural part of the cycle of life is when our roles as children start to shift from that into caretaking roles where our parents are concerned. This can be as major as moving a parent into a retirement facility, or coming to the realization that it's necessary to check in with them more often than usual. Whatever the case, such a shift is momentous as it signals a time of confronting our own mortality as we confront that of our parents. In addition, it can bring up issues about how well they cared for us when we were young. We may also find ourselves consumed with fear at the thought of losing them, even if we've been on our own for a very long time.
Talking to other friends and family who are going through similar experiences can be a large source of support. They can help us look at both the unresolved past and the unfolding present, and we are free to talk only about ourselves. Sometimes we need the kind of undivided attention a friend can offer in order to deal with the material that comes up at this time of our lives.
In many ways, this time of life signals a rebirth as we examine our individual past, as well as our familial past. As our parents' lives move toward completion, we are able to see what they did with their time on earth, what we have done so far with our time, and what we might want to do with the time we have left. These challenges and blessings are all part of the cycle of life.