Holiday 2012 -- Our Power to Adapt
Recently I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for some time. When I asked how life was going for her, she took a deep breath and said it had been a struggle, but things were on the right track now. Her mother had been diagnosed with dementia along with failing health. While my friend's sister and brother live very close to their mother and she lives about an hour away, her siblings had done almost nothing to help their mother, and my friend was picking up all the slack while trying to run her own business. She was growing very resentful of both having to do it all and her mother's demands and needs, even though she understood her mother was ill and was not trying to irritate her on purpose.
One day while trying to dress her uncooperative mother, it dawned on my friend that their roles had reversed -- she was now the parent and her mother was the child. That realization completely changed her mindset and she let go of her resentment and anger. She started to understand that what her mother was going through was, in fact, like having the mind of a child; getting upset and resenting her mom was like resenting a baby for needing to be changed or a toddler for spilling milk. There was no point.
She started to treasure the time she had left with her mom. They take walks in the park, watch silly shows together, do art projects -- she lets her mom lead the way with whatever she wants to do. Although their relationship has changed and the roles are reversed, their bond has grown stronger and she has learned to love her mother in a whole new and deeper way. She also said she felt sorry for her siblings because by turning their backs on their mother, they were missing out on this very special time with her. When her mother does pass away, my friend knows that she will have no regrets, knowing that she did and said everything she wanted to before it was too late.
I love this story because it so beautifully illustrates the adaptation power we all have within us. My friend's situation really brings home the truth of the saying "Change your mind, change your life." Nothing changed about the particulars of my friend's situation; she still has to commute an hour each way to care for her mother while running her own business. However, by simply changing her mind, her life did change! I hope my friend's story will inspire us all to try resetting our minds when we find ourselves feeling resentment or anger and see if it puts us (and those around us!) in a better place.