Transition Perspectives

Transition Perspectives

Transition Perspectives September 12, 2021

Relationship Enrichment was my intended series planned for fall but comments and emails urged me to expand on Bridging Transitions. I’m sharing several.

Cool perspective Ruth... A gem, chock full of information to tuck away and haul out to reflect on when unexpected transitions hit. Like just recently.... with my son.... he bought an old 10-acre orange grove. The transition.... layers upon layers of thought, melding the past with the present and considering the future.... the dynamics of how I fit into his life and the impacts of so many decisions, both micro and macro and trying to sort it all out...nearly impossible, but knowing that it is indeed, a transition and that time will soften it all up as it settles into the new, new... Yes, this was a needed read.... J

The Christmas after my mother died, it fell to me to organize the traditional Christmas Eve buffet. All the dishes were ready simultaneously (a miracle) when I realized that the red Christmas tablecloth was not on the table. When my sister-in-law arrived and wondered why we weren't eating yet, she found me ironing the cloth and sobbing. Another transition, my first without Mother, my first as family matriarch. C

While our mom was ill our dad welcomed our taking dinners to them, cleaning the house, shopping, helping with the yard and assisting with bill paying. My sister and I loved helping them.  Now, since he’s alone, he has transitioned into being extremely independent telling us that we don’t need to do all that for him.  However, we know that he still needs assistance with the yard, meals and house care. P

Keep God's armor close at hand to toss on as challenging changes will come, not may come. The world, our lives, our bodies are constantly changing so that we need to have that inkling, we should be prepared to a certain extent to adapt as necessary. Discipline, patience, faith to wait on what's ahead.... maybe all my plans will transition anew and a different rickety bridge will be tested. For this, I pray another good growth spurt. Bless you and your blossoming transition to one-ness.

Thank you for the enlightening read. It is helpful to hear that some (maybe most) transitions can be reversible; we can go from one state to another, and then back again, I suppose the ‘irreversible’ ones are much harder to deal with, but we can certainly adapt if needed. D

I have been so picked at and bullied in my growing, maturing efforts with spouses, family, some from my mom, that I have never felt intelligent enough, that I wasn't capable of expressing ideas of any substance that would matter to anyone. All the many transitions I have made it through and still am, married life is a challenge and my aging body is presenting limitations. Those challenges keep me looking to God and "becoming". B

When I began collecting data for Bridging Transitions, I was curious about identifying specific transitions that were set into motion with the devastating, scary and sad uprooting of our mother’s 20-year marriage, as she realized that her husband was not merely on a routine two-week salesman trip that was extending for several more but that he had actually deserted her. He just dropped out of her life without rhyme or reason, sweeping her into the Twoness to Oneness transition. We didn’t see him for a year.

We never heard arguments; mom and dad were very affectionate. It was evident they loved each other.  Mom was devastated, hurt, confused, disappointed, scared and very sad. Her first decision, as I shared in an earlier blog, was to quickly move out of a rented house into a vacant three-room ‘sposed to be torn down’ no plumbing-house that Grandma made available rent-free.

She accepted total responsibility for parenting four of the six of us children still at home--David was six and headed to first grade. An irreversible transition was after 20 years of being a stay-at-home mom into the sole provider and seeking full time employment. The most difficult deviation was adapting to being away from her children and having limited time for homemaking.  She never let on to us that these unchosen turn-arounds were troubling.  Though we were all coerced into transitions, our corporate survival was successful because we followed Mom’s quiet and wise example of how to manage a tough situation. We teens found jobs and became David’s caregivers (he’d say bosses). Mom shared that trusting in the Lord was getting her through.  She never had the ‘poor me’ attitude. One of her best examples was not criticizing Daddy. She allowed us to make up our own minds about him. Without complaint, Mom led a rich and happy life. We adored her and admired her selflessness.

Mom’s last and extremely painful transition occurred when she was 98. To provide physical care-needs we were forced to transfer her from living with each child for 2 months into a private Assisted Living Home. Jim and I were present and my heart ached as I read her eyes “Ruthie, don’t let this happen. I am scared and want to be with my children.” As I struggle for words right now after 16 years my heart still aches and tears are rolling. How I wished that that transition could have been reversed. But we do what we have to do.  Mom submitted patiently and quietly to this foisted transition.  We sibs appreciated the husband/wife RN team who loved Mom and took wonderful care of her for her last couple of years. We all gathered for her 100th birthday. She reached 101. No one, it’s obvious, even if they’re as lovely and cooperative as our mother, is immune from wrangling with bitter transitions.

Get ready!  Anticipated transitions are the least intrusive. As Jim and I traveled thousands of miles together over 65 years, he chose the routes, read the maps and did most of the driving while I filled the role of planner and navigator. Recently, a transition took me by surprise as my daughter, Kay and I , took a trip. When I shared details with brother John, “I didn’t have a key to the car or the room and wasn’t even sure I could find my way to our room because of the massive hotel setup. I was more of a spectator.  I felt as dependent as a child”, he responded, “This too, is a type of transition that we as aging parents will experience as adult children step in to direct and protect.

Seniors might as well accept the fact that transitioning to dependence is unavoidable.  Wisdom is ‘preparing for and accepting transitions and deciding to maintain a cooperative attitude’ like our mom, who set the example of quietly and pleasantly acquiescing to unavoidable tricky and irksome transitions.

Dependent Seniors, or those who can no longer care for themselves, often become belligerent and resort to critical opinions. Mom said, “if you are a kind and agreeable person when you are young, you will be kind when you’re old. But if we are hard to get along with when we are young, that’s how we’ll be when we’re old”, and quoted an old adage, ‘The faults we see in others are often the ones we have ourselves’.

This last paragraph does not apply to those on meds and afflicted with Dementia, Alzheimer’s and other diseases and accidents create drastic personality changes. The probability on the horizon is that the majority of young and healthy adult children are wise to be alert to dependency and intentionally look ahead for caring for or transferring parents/loved ones at some time into a safer and more extensive care environment. Making legal and physical preparations will soften those unavoidable transitions.

Considering long-range transition perspectives which we will undoubtedly encounter, will be a favor to ourselves and our families, especially if we determine ahead of time to cooperate, assured that changing our routine, even for a little while, will most likely develop character as well as enable us to refine our attitude as we access God’s promised patience toward peace of heart and mind.

1 I love the Lord for he heard my voice.2 Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live…8 The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. Ps. 116.                                                                                      Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places. Surely, I have a delightful inheritance. Ps. 16:5-6.                                                                                     But the fruit of the Spirit is love, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 5:22-23