The Change Of Seasons

By K. F. Donahue

I can’t help but correlate Nature’s way with the seasons with the progression of life, especially as I get older.

It is a dreary late-winter day here in central Florida with overcast skies, a light fog, a cooling of the temperature as a cold front moves down the peninsula. Last summer was gloriously bright, scorching hot and storm-tossed dangerous as it melded into the beautifully warm fall which in turn eased us into the often down right cold of winter so that everyone is now looking forward to a joyous spring. As Nature exerts her powers most of us are ready for the subtle change of seasons.

I can’t help but correlate Nature’s way with the seasons with the progression of life, especially as I get older. It has been a stressful last two years – first with Dad’s passing, then Mom’s deteriorating snowball of health issues until her passing last May. Next dealing with the legal dilemmas and responsibilities of probate, close friends’ health issues, and now the frequent concerns of the creeping suspected dementia in my sister’s mother-in-law.

Now I must say that this growing suspicion has been creeping … creeping with the speed of a snail in the minds of each family member. To some the change is so subtle it is nearly invisible but I am fearful that this snail will eventually win the race. Just in the last few months daily schedules and chores have been neglected, a question has been asked over and over every few minutes, the name of a child has slipped into oblivion and shoes have been put on the wrong feet. Items thought lost were sought after with an uncharacteristic all-day obsession, bedroom slippers have been worn in place of dress shoes.  And ideas in speech come out with word substitutions in which case, when her children fail to follow the gist, they are subsequently blamed in an angry outburst of “You always do this!” In her mind they question what has been said just to prove her wrong. No, no, no.

What is the family to do? Right now in an attempt to keep disruptions to a minimum one daughter has moved in with her mother so that someone can be in the house to keep a watchful eye. But she has a full time job, as do the other grown children, which leaves every day, all day, with no one to check on the progression of that insidious snail. So my sister will drive two hours at least one day every week to “visit” with the intention of doing a little housework, chatting about family, perusing old photographs, and taking her mother-in-law out for lunch. Of course she will also be hyper-observant to help the family evaluate any need for additional support.

But much patience from everyone involved will be needed along the way. As a former teacher I can see the full circle from little ones asking again and again the same question and getting the same answer again and again, to an older one asking again and again the same question and getting the same answer again and again. Patience, much patience and love will be needed to survive the snail’s destruction and to maintain the affected person’s well-deserved dignity.

A change of season as a change in life has always been and always will be. As we all know what each season will bring, also we all know how life plays its song along different paths but to the same end. Both my sister and I have always been the optimists, the ones who have always had a smile despite life’s inevitable difficulties. I suggested to her not to change but instead to share that optimism along with encouragement by looking back on those well-earned accomplishments, by reliving the overflowing joy of her mother-in-law’s adventures as well as by pointing out the sheer daily beauty of nature around us – all in an attempt to soften the effects of that ugly creeping snail.

Via- Senior Wire News Service.

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