THE PAIN OF LETTING GOMay 31st, 2013 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog
Following a Long Absence
Because I am not employed and what I choose to do, and am able to do, is laid to the privilege of being retired, this column has been vacant for some while. It was the result of an extended illness, and the caretaking that resulted for my 93 year old mother. Add to that an illness that came to visit and limited my activities as well as interest in other things. All of this led to my finding ready excuse, no motivation, and an overwhelming sense of emotional fatigue, not to do or want to do much of anything. In other words, I found myself in the middle of the struggle to fight the fight and deal with the pain of letting go.
This article is the result of my being aware that eventually a shift must occur and life’s shape and function must adjust.
Aging Demands Adjustments
Among the realities of aging, there is one that seems to be sold short. Letting go of emotional and economic ties that have been a long term part of our lives looms large. Built into the system of those who are past retirement age is the need to recognize significant life adjustments.
Recently we moved from our original planned retirement domicile. We had carefully planned it and built it to our specifications. Admittedly it was larger than it needed to be and exacted both more economy and energy than was prudent. But it was, after all, our dream home and retirement plan.
Life with its predictable, but not always welcome, changes has a way of adjusting our expectations. Calculating where and in what style one will live is among the most critical of strategies facing the retiree.
Time comes, because of all kinds of well known interferences that fine tuning must be addressed. For any of those, the circumstances and implications vary. But, come they do. And preparing for them, recognizing them, acknowledging them are all requirements that often would rather be ignored.
Then, the next discovery is that ignoring them is clearly not an option. The great god of change will have its way. Age is a consummate partner in that experience. Health, limiting physical conditions, inability to calculate life’s needs as they press upon us, failing perceptiveness for our own good, these and a bushel load of others crowd their way into our lives.
Letting Go With Aging
It is then that the need to confront ourselves where we are, and not where we would wish to be, becomes mandatory. It is a pain unlike most others. It comes adorned with many faces and labels. It is called dementia for some, arthritis for others, boredom, loss of purpose, fear of death, multiplied physical conditions, diminishing resources, and on and on.
It is that aging would seek to be our greatest enemy, our unkindest friend, our most frequent irritant.
And, it is then that the pain of letting go is recognized as necessity and reality of this stage of life.
It is then that home and hearth are downsized, that fewer demands are made on self, that diminishing numbers of friends and acquaintances haunt us, that death among those so dear to us becomes more frequent, that memories mean more, sleep more elusive, invasive pain more mystifying.
The pain of letting go requires that we allow ourselves the strength to “withstand the wiles of the evil one,” so a biblical verse reminds. It goes on “take on the whole armor of God.” It advises that in order to render the many enemies that would invade our lives and souls, we need to take on a promise of hope, a stimulation that is faith, an ally that is love. Otherwise, we become too soon too vulnerable. Moving on is preferable to giving in. Refuse the pain of letting go being the only choice we seem to have.