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When parents give up

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Spent some time with my parents this weekend. I haven't seen them in about 6 years and they were celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary, so we drove down. My dad turns 82 next month, and though there is not anything really seriously wrong with him medically, other than a bum leg, I found him in such a despairing mood and he told me he was going to die. Some where along the way, he appears to have lost the will to live. I tried to be with him as much as I could, and I tried to give him reasons to keep on living, but he has it fixated in his head that he is going to die. I find this very puzzling, because he usually has such a great outlook on life. I didn't know what else to do, so we just went for walks and I listened to him. My mom says he has been fixated on death since about the middle of last year. He also did something he has never done before, and that is talk about the war (WWII) all the time. he was Chief Medical Officer and until recently, he never even discussed what happened to him during the time he was in China and Guadalcanal. It was just a really strange visit.
post #2 of 9
My Nana was 83 when she died. It was Christmastime and all the family was at her house, except me, I was in school at the time and couldn't get airfare together. She said she was going to lay down for a while, and my uncle Jack, a dentist, went back to check on her after a while. My last letter to her was in her hands and she had died. She wasn't sick, she didn't have a heart attack or a stroke, she was just old.

Now I suppose that isn't much comfort to you, it's your dad and all. (My dad died before my grandparents, when I was 19, I know how this feels.) My thought is, sometimes people are not sick or suffering, sometimes it is just time for them to move on to the next thing. Reviewing one's life, thinking back over the past, sharing wisdom and knowledge one has acquired, these are the gifts our seniors have for us. I know it is odd because it's different, but listen while you can because he has so much to tell you. You have a chance to learn so much because he is inclined to tell you, and that is very valuable indeed.

Hugs and sympathy.
post #3 of 9
Hissy........I love you to death, you mean the world to me, so please take this in the way it is meant......Why has it been 6 years since you saw your parents????? I lost my mother 4 years ago, and my father died just last year.....even though my brothers lived in kentucky and in Colorado, they made it out to see him, every year. I understand money can be a problem, so if that is the reason...I totally understand.

Dad was 82 when he died. He too had been depressed for a very long time...nothing we did could make him feel better....mom was gone, and he felt he had no reason to live.....he used to be such a strong man, and a farmer, and I remember from my childhood, ( dad was 47 when I was born, so he wasn't young, even when I remember this...) I remember looking out the window, at the age of maybe 8 or 9, and seeing my strong father, with his strong hands, throwing bales of hay onto the lowboy, like they weighed nothing....and driving those big tractors...and I admired him so!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My strong daddy!!!!!!!!!

But time took it's toll on him....no matter how strong a man is....age finally catches up with them....
And finally, he could no longer farm.
So then he spent his time helping one of my brothers farm...he felt useful that way....he would drive the tractor to go pick Donnie up, and help him farm, and he was okay...cause he felt needed.
Then a couple years before he died, he wasn't in any shape to help out with the farming....so all he did was sit inside his house, and worry about the condition of the crops, or how Donnie was doing....he felt useless. He had a stroke and died soon after.
He was so depressed those last couple years.

I guess what I am trying to say to you, is don't let another year go by without going to see them, and let them know you still need them!!!!!! They need to feel needed!!!!!!!! This is why they get so depressed, they feel like they are not needed, and that they are just a burdon to us.
post #4 of 9
Debby....that was a beautiful testament to your parents. They did an excellent job of raising you..I know they are both smiling down at you right now.

I lost my Dad when I was 14 so I have only a few memories of him. Mom kind of pushed me aside after that and we have never been real close since. I basically look after her now and even tho sometimes it gets very hard I treasure all the time we have left.

I have to agree. If anyone out there is on the outs with one of your parents..make the move to heal the rift. You have no guarantee that there will be lots of time for that and you will hate yourself once they're gone. Likewise if an elderly parent is being difficult;bear it and remember them in their best days. Don't spend the rest of your life saying I wish I had.
post #5 of 9
Hubby's grandmother passed away last year at the age of 94. She was an active woman all her life and used to travel and play ping pong well into her eighties, but like Debby said, time does take its toll and the last few years were more difficult. She was gradually losing her clarity of mind and though never actually senile, she had some memory and orientation problems.

In her nineties she became quite depressed and kept talking about how she's waiting to die and get it over with. She was even talking about taking her own life. Hubby's parents built her a lovely little house in their backyard so that she would have her privacy but would be near them. She kept seeing her son and grandsons and even great grandsons practically everyday so she was not too lonely. She was also in great physical condition for a woman in her nineties.

At some point the doctor put her on prozac and it was great. She became much less depressed and happier and active. Unfortunately she didn't like the thought of using psychiatric drugs so she stopped taking it after a while and the melancholy set back it soon after that.

She died less than a year ago. Cause of death was old age - no other medical problem was found. She just slipped away in her sleep. I guess her dwindling will for life had something to do with that.

Hissy, I'm really sorry to hear about your dad. Could you maybe talk him into getting some professional help? Depression is an illness and should be treated in any age. Ther eare so many useful drugs these days there's really no need for him to suffer like that.

Just my 2 cents worth...
post #6 of 9
Hissy, I'm sorry your dad is depressed,I,ve had a little experience with depression,my very close friend suffered last year.Anne,its so very true,it is an illness,my friend improved, only after a few weeks of taking medication.They were not addictive in any way and no side affects at all,I know everyone is different, and they respond to treatment differently,but my friends treatment really helped her.I really hope you and your mum can talk to your dad about going to see his doctor,hope you don't mind me giving my opinion.

post #7 of 9

Please, take it from one who has experienced the exact same thing you're going through now. Get your father some help. These are signs that shouldn't be ignored.

Take what your father says seriously. People have gut instincts about stuff like death. My father (who was a very serious alcoholic) did too and I just thought it was the alcohol taking. Let's just say I didn't take it too seriously and never got to say good-bye or that I loved him.

Good luck in whatever you do, but most of all, stand by both of them. E-mail me if you'd like to chat. My thoughts and prayers and with you and your parents.


post #8 of 9
First let me say that I am sorry your Dad is not doing well. But please see if they can give him something for the depression and I do believe that they know when time is runing out.

My Mom passed away this past June, she was 82. She had had a stroke several years ago and was barely able to walk but in good spirits. She had degenative heart disease. Well before she passed on she was confined to the hospital for several months. Most of that time she would be happy one day then depressed the next. They tried her on depression medicine but she was not able to take it along with her other medicines. She constantly talked about it being time for her to die and that she was ready to do so. I was scheduled to go on a vacation to see KF the first of June and had been talking to her about it. She kept telling me to go on my trip and enjoy myself as she would be ok until I returned. A few weeks before I left she asked me and my sister to please go make her funeral arrangements. She told us exactly what she want and to make her happy we did just as she asked. Just before time for me to go it had gotten to where some days she just slept all the time but otherwise seemed ok. Well I went on my trip. When I returned it was during a big flood and I barely was able to get home. It was 3 days later before the roads opened again and I was able to go see Mom. Well I found her still sleeping most of the time and mumbling and not making much sense when she did appear to wake some. About 3 days later my sis and I got a call to come up to the hospital. I flew (speeded like crazy) up there as it takes me an hour to get there. Sis was already there and said that Mom was not responsive at all. Well I went to her and leaned over to hug her. I told her who I was, that I loved her and that I wish she would wake up and talk to me. She lifted her hand and rested it on my back. She must have heard me as the nurses told me that was the only response that she had made all day. Several hours later she passed away. I have to believe that she was waiting for me to return as she had promised she would. Yes I do believe that they know when time is runing out.

Sorry to write such a long story but couldn't tell it any shorter.

post #9 of 9
meme....I am so sorry to hear about your mother's passing.
My thoughts are with you....it is so hard to let go.

Hissy...I hope I have not offended you...I certainly didn't mean to.

I don't really know that putting a very depressed elderly person on prozac is just the right thing to do either. Someimes they just need to go...they WANT to go, and be in heaven with God.

I think the most important thing, way more important than putting them on an anti-depressant, is to make sure they are saved, and ready to meet their maker, before they die.
That way, you will know they are in heaven, and much better off, and much happier than they were here.
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