Have you ever heard anyone say that you should see your parents often as they age, because one day you’ll regret that you didn’t?
Let’s think about that for a moment:
I understand regret that we should have done something, seen someone more. I think as humans we often wish we had done things differently. I think it’s sort of natural to become wistful and begin with the “Oh if only” dance…
But should everyone see their parents more as they get older?
Or are some relationships meant to be kept at a distance? Are some relationships meant to be a once a month or season kind of thing?
First, let’s look at how you remember someone:
If a parent has gotten cranky, how much time do you want to spend with them? Do you want to make weekly visits to someone who complains about literally everything? Is this the lasting memory that you want?
How about the parent who has lost some of their mental capabilities. Again, how often can you sit with a person who does not remember who you are before it takes a toll on you? Do you want your lasting memories to be of someone who was confused and befuddled more often than not?
Next, let’s think about the level of relationship that you had with the parent. While some people have wonderful relationships with their parents, others don’t. There’s a lot of disfunction on families. Like it or not, some people might not really miss a parent when they are gone because there was so much bad between them, there’s not really anything good to miss.
How often you do, or don’t, see parents as they age is a very personal decision. I don’t think there’s a one size fits all answer to this question. What brings closure or solace to one person might not be the same way for another. We are all individuals and handle things differently, so I don’t know if we should ever tell someone what to do in this situation. I think we should stop laying guilt trips on people about things they might not feel guilty about. If someone is dealing with a situation, is it right to add more junk to the ever growing pile of doubts and decisions and what should I do’s?
What is good for one person might not be good for another. Give people the benefit of the doubt that they may know how to handle a situation in the best way possible for them.