May 2nd, 2009


Letter to My Aging Parents

Dear Mom & Dad,

I would like to take this opportunity to discuss our possible future relationship in the event one of you passes suddenly, in order to clarify my thoughts on your life as a widow/widower.

Its unfortunate that building ones own family is often at the sacrifice of the other. However, you have not set me out in this world without the tools I needed to succeed. The types of tools in which metrics cannot be applied. You've helped me learn responsibility by allowing me to strike out on my own, turning trepidation into courage with the knowledge that I could return when I needed to. You've given me unconditional love, even while you watched me pursue my own folly. You've graciously given advice when I've asked for it, but never forced it upon me, and you've allowed me to experience so much at every turn - sometimes for nothing more than experience's sake, even to your own peril at times.

And just so we're clear - I will afford you the same propriety. If one of you passes and the other begins "dating" someone else, I vow that even if its someone I dislike, I will never accuse you dishonoring the other parent. If, while you're both still alive you choose to spend my inheritance on a endless cruises sailing the seven seas, I hope you enjoy it! And no bitter word on the subject shall ever cross my lips. I have known sons who are as lucky as I, and I admire them just as they admire me. We know the secret to happiness, and its in our upbringing, in our relationship with our parents.

If one of you passes and the other becomes a shut-in, I will be there. Plans have been in the works the last two years to secure a residence within walking distance if the need arises. When I was a young man with my 1968 Dodge Coronet 440, many, many people had that faraway look in their eye and waxed poetic about their first car, always ending with, "I wish I'd kept mine." I did keep my first car, and by the time I'll be able to do anything with it, it will already be too late. They were wrong. They didn't know. I have learned the hard way, and have earned this knowledge along the way: I WILL MAKE YOU MOVE OUT OF YOUR HOUSE TO BE NEAR MY FAMILY. Too many old people cling to things which they think are important, but discover too late that they were wrong.

If instead of a shut-in you chooses to walk the Earth, alone. I will accept that. (A postcard every once in a while would be nice.) I will not unfairly place my expectations upon you as you have not unfairly placed your expectations upon me. Your path is yours alone to follow, and I am not in a position to tell you what that path is, though I will help guide you as you need, as you have done for me.

Worry not, for you shall not be judged, no matter what you do. I too, love you unconditionally.

Live long and prosper,

  • Current Music
    Snow - Millennium