A Family in Transition…

boy and mom

For Audio Version: http://www.audioacrobat.com/play/WVR8P9ks

It has now been a year since my mom moved into our home. As I reflect back on the past twelve (12) months, I am amazed at where we are today compared to last year…

Last year at the age of 90, my mom was showing signs of depression with deteriorating physical and mental health. She lived independently in an apartment, had someone come in twice a month to clean, my husband would do her grocery shopping, and I made sure she had her medications set up for a week at a time.

However, even with all of our good intentions to make sure she had food available to eat and medications set up the way she should take them, she was not eating well and her failing eyesight caused her to drop pills so that her medication was not well-managed.

When mom made the decision to move in with my husband and I, things occurred that none of us were ready for… emotions such as frustration, anger, sadness, and guilt arose within not only my mom, but within my siblings, and within my home.

We all entered into various stages of GRIEF

My mom grieved for her perceived loss of independence, my husband and I grieved  the lifestyle changes required within our home, and my brothers grieved the change in routine that they had developed over the years visiting mom at her apartment.

The initial grieving led the way to a breakdown in our family relationship as we had known it. Things were said out of misunderstanding and feelings of being out of control. I honestly felt that my husband and I had made a grave mistake by offering our home to my mom, and there was a time where I thought my relationship with my siblings and my mother may never be repaired…

Now fast forward a year later… my mom is engaged in life! She reads an average of two books a week. She has lost ten pounds by walking up and down the stairs of a split level home to do her laundry, and she is eating healthy meals. Her medication management is under great control, and the visits to her doctor are twice a year for maintenance visits, versus active medical concerns that previously had to be evaluated every every one to two months.

My mom has also become a dog lover at the tender age of 91! She loves our two full size Labradoodles because they give her comfort and companionship when my husband and I are gone. Never in a million years would I imagine my momma asking (or more like insisting) to leave the dogs with her if we are going to go out of town for a weekend!

Yesterday, as I spent time with my brothers and their families at my niece’s wedding, I realized that our family was not fractured beyond repair…, we simply had a transition through grief this past year.  A transition that ultimately helped all of us realize that our intentions are in concert with one another… the intention of Honoring Thy Mother during the remaining time she has on this earth.

I learned a few things this past year about how we could have possibly made our family transition a little less traumatic (and dramatic):

  1. Take the time to communicate as a family. Ask questions and continue to ask questions. Make sure everyone has the opportunity to talk about concerns that they may have.
  2. Stop yourself and ask “how would I feel if I was standing in that person’s shoes?” Empathy goes a long way in alleviating negative perceptions.
  3. Don’t rush major changes, especially when an elderly person is involved. Our ability to adapt to change can lessen as we age, so it is important to take the time to gradually initiate significant change.
  4. Apologize if something you say or do is perceived as hurtful by another person.
  5. Forgive if something someones says or does is perceived as hurtful by you.
  6. Remember that love does conquer all!

If you are in a life transition, give me a call or contact me through this website, to discuss how coaching can help you successfully move into the life you are looking for.

Pat Sheveland

Pat Sheveland




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