No one ever told me about the circle of life outside of The Lion King. I mean, seriously though. Take out the cartoon and place the people from your past and present and you’ve got your own Elton John song. The Circle of Life is always my go-to when trying to understand why I missed the lesson on watching your parents age into oblivion.
I admit I have a gift to even have my parents still. However, we can all agree that although death is inevitable, it was never a topic that was discussed. Hitting ages 1, 13, 16, 18, 21, wedding or baby, baby or wedding, showers for both, house with picket fence, dream life, ya know. There was nothing in there about oh-yeah. The older you get the party is over. You have loved ones with infertility. Cancers, mental illness. Addiction. I can’t even begin to tell you how many friends are sober now.
Oh and the most inevitable of all? The people around you growing older and more fragile. Watching your parents start to lose the pep in their step.
I’m home in Waterloo, Illinois where my parents have lived and raised their family in since the beginning of my time. My relationship with my mom has been rocky the past couple of years. However, my heart is screaming to get past the hang-ups. Not just for us but for my sisters too. Good people. They just drive me nuts.
I’m saying all this because I feel like I’m so far away from their reality. I really am. I left home in 1995 and never looked back. At least not for long. I had a stint or two in between my moves. However, now that I’m married and have a family living on the coast I rarely get a glimpse of what my sisters’ situation is. But I am grateful to them for being there for my mom as this starts to come to fruition.
My dad is suffering from Parkinsons disease. He got it from being exposed to Agent Orange during the years he spent in the military. How screwed up is that? The thought that it took 40+ years to start to develop and take over his body. It’s awful watching a once spry man fall to his ability to live with his illness.
It is so incredibly unfair. To think that billions of people have to live through it just makes my heart ache. But I suppose it is the circle of life no one ever told us about.
**Sending so much love to you if you lost a loved one and I sound ungrateful. I am grateful. I’m just wishing I knew how to prepare for what’s coming. Cause it’s tough.