An Ask Dr. Neimeyer Guest Column Parents and Children

Two weeks ago we published an Ask Dr. Neimeyer about the decision process for those who are looking to move their widowed parents from their homes into a facility. You can read it by CLICKING HERE

Here is an eloquent response from a widow reader:

Dear Dr. Neimeyer,

This post from Doris, “Healing Transitions for Parents” speaks to me too vividly.

It is a PROFOUND enough a loss to lose one’s spouse. Being widowed is very very painful, oft times life-consuming.

No matter the intervention and reasoning, it’s a plethora of feelings of ultimate abandonment that simply can not be shared.

When my Anthony passed in 2013, my world, my life was forever altered in the present and future.

It seems so many many people who have NOT lost a spouse, sudden or otherwise, completely can not experience the pain that is associated in all its clinical manifestations of abandonment, profound loneliness, fear of future abandonment by others, complete irrelevancy (whether perceived or a real sense of a lack-of-being) it is in the latter context I expound Doris’s post.

“Doris, imagine the myriad of the above emotions associated with a widow’/widowers’ profound loss in the begin with. Now let’s add another dimension, one’s children wanting to place the surviving spouse in a retirement home. The fear perceived and real are “life-ending.” There’s simply NO other view the widow/widower can conceive other than non-existence.

It is my humble belief, that the worse arrangement for a widow/widower is to further alienate their cognitively painful existence by placing them in a retirement facility, forever annexing them from those things that evoked the happy and saddest associations they had in their home that lovingly and mercifully connected them to the only safe harbor they’ve ever known.

The effect will render a clinical-like environment the widow/widower will ultimately experience, no matter their faculty of reasoning. A sterile, vulnerable, unfamiliar, and public, memories-free living arrangement that translates to the human mind -a veritable hell.

So I ask, would anyone sound of mind and sense of relevancy want to survive this form of subsistence, this tragic form of abandonment? I think not!

When that moment arrives for me, if it might, my will is strong enough to let go of life, for life at this juncture will consume my faculty of understanding on all levels of reasoning, and know fully well it’s my time to join my beloved Anthony.

I sincerely pray, there are alternatives in this day and age to remediate this long-standing practice of further abandoning our parents, loved ones and friends. All other forms of dealing with the emotional complexities of this matter are clinically and socially mute, but not without yet a more optimal alternative to ” double-abandonment.”

Rodrik Walters

To my beloved Anthony,

“On that old horse drawn bridge, I met you many seasons ago,

while early spring’s raindrops melted the soft glistening snow,

our eyes glanced in nature’s tabernacle of affirming glow,

a springtime melody of true loves bliss,

a hidden melody, a new born kiss.

You invited me into life, and i succored your love to embrace me so-

this old horse-drawn bridge covered in snow,

elated our senses to truly truly know

-it’s springtime my Anthony at every morning’s show-

behold my beloved heart, I’ll never let you go.”

Thank you! Dr. Neimeyer for all of your most kind and loving guidance and gentle caring words and thoughts of impeccable wisdom.

Rodrik Walters

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