I am sandwiched between the old and the young. Parents aging and children reaching out for their own lives. I sit in the middle, feeling a bit helpless.
For my children, the process of letting go is hard. I’ve written about my youngest trails. In spite of their thrashing around, and my worries, I still have a very hopeful outlook. Actually the world is in front of them. The possibilities seem endless.
My oldest didn’t come home for Thanksgiving, which left a bit of a hole in our celebration. When I mentioned this to one of my student’s parents she said, I think God leaves a little hole in our lives so we can look forward and hope to fill it. That thought stuck with me. My children may have a few holes in their lives, but they can look forward to what those holes might contain some day. I have great hope for my kids and let go (eventually), knowing that it’s their job to work on filling the holes.
When I think of our parents, my husband’s and mine, the holes and hope become problematic. My parents have their issues. They struggle, yet thankfully they have each other and their independence. We saw them on Thanksgiving along with my brother’s family, and it was good. Now we’re thinking about the next holiday, and not thinking about how truly fragile my 87 and 94 year old parents are. They have their holes and some are impossible to fill, yet they compensate and keep going. God bless their resilience and relative good health.
We saw my in-laws on Friday. My father-in law’s health is in decline due to Parkinsons. He has fought it for years with various medicines. The meds have kept his life pretty good. Now he is at a point where he has to choose. Keep the meds that allow him to be physically mobile or the ones that keep him mentally acute — he can’t have both. The prospects are dimming, and possibilities are lessening. My mother-in-law’s spirit is so beat down it breaks my heart. And we, their children and grandchildren, watch the decline, feeling helpless. In this case, letting go has an entirely different connotation.
God leaves a little hole in our lives so we can look forward and hope to fill it. How does that work for them? How does it work for all of us in the end?
I hope to have someone to hold on to as well as grace, courage, and faith when my holes get bigger and possibilities become fewer. But who knows. So I’m going to keep filling up holes and hoping for something just around the corner. It won’t be what I left behind, but I will look on with the knowledge and often sweet memories of what was there. Perhaps, holding on to knowledge and memories is how to fill up those impossible holes — a gift for ourselves, our parents and children.