Last Updated on June 14, 2022 by Editorial Staff
By Rachel Lankester, Mutton Club editor
It can be so hard when the caring dynamic changes radically and we become the ones looking after older parents. Especially when the care giver is caught between caring for both parent and child. Looking after older parents can be incredibly stressful.
I don’t know where this letter came from, but it pops up on social media around Mothers Day. I thought it a good reminder for anyone caught up in the process, who may have lost sight of the people involved.
Letter from a Mother to a Daughter
“My dear girl, the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If when we talk, I repeat the same thing a thousand times, don’t interrupt to say: “You said the same thing a minute ago”… Just listen, please. Try to remember the times when you were little and I would read the same story night after night until you would fall asleep.
When I don’t want to take a bath, don’t be mad and don’t embarrass me. Remember when I had to run after you making excuses and trying to get you to take a shower when you were just a girl?
When you see how ignorant I am when it comes to new technology, give me the time to learn and don’t look at me that way… remember, honey, I patiently taught you how to do many things like eating appropriately, getting dressed, combing your hair and dealing with life’s issues every day… the day you see I’m getting old, I ask you to please be patient, but most of all, try to understand what I’m going through.
If I occasionally lose track of what we’re talking about, give me the time to remember, and if I can’t, don’t be nervous, impatient or arrogant. Just know in your heart that the most important thing for me is to be with you.
And when my old, tired legs don’t let me move as quickly as before, give me your hand the same way that I offered mine to you when you first walked.
When those days come, don’t feel sad… just be with me, and understand me while I get to the end of my life with love. I’ll cherish and thank you for the gift of time and joy we shared.
With a big smile and the huge love I’ve always had for you, I just want to say, I love you… my darling daughter. “
Isn’t that beautiful! It’s so easy to forget and not be present in the moment with who our loved ones become as they get older. We change and so do our elders. I found this so powerful for me!
I know my own mother-daughter relationship has changed radically and the balance of caring is now with me. It’s good to be reminded how actually lucky I am to have that privilege.
If you are also caring for a loved one or the relationship dynamic has radically changed, how do you best cope with that?
Rachel Lankester is the founder of Magnificent Midlife, author, host of the Magnificent Midlife Podcast, a midlife mentor and editor of the Mutton Club online magazine. After an initially devastating early menopause at 41, she dedicated herself to helping women vibrantly transition through the sometimes messy middle of life, helping them cope better with menopause and ageing in general, and create magnificent next chapters. She’s been featured in/on BBC Woman’s Hour, The Huffington Post, The Sunday Times, Thrive Global, Authority Magazine, The Age Buster, Woman’s Weekly, Prima Magazine, eShe, Tatler HK and Woman’s Own amongst others. She believes we just get better with age. Get her book Magnificent Midlife: Transform Your Middle Years, Menopause and Beyond.