As life draws to a close for your aging parent–or for any of us, for that matter–the complex becomes simple. Dr. Ira Byock, MD, author of “The Four Things That Matter Most” https://irabyock.org/books/the-four-things-that-matter-most/ boils down the essence of end of life into four sentences:
1. Please forgive me.
2. I forgive you.
3. Thank you.
4. I love you.
Notice the order. Forgiveness comes first. Not terribly surprising.
Dr. Byock’s preface contains a meaningful quote by theologian Paul Tillich about forgiveness:
“Forgiving presupposes remembering. And it creates a forgetting, not in the natural way we forget yesterday’s weather; but in the way of the great ‘in spite of’ that says I forget although I remember: Without kind of forgetting no human relationship can endure healthily.” See this link. https://www.azquotes.com/quote/1236532
Our job is to listen, support and affirm. And forgive. As we hear these four sentences–either audibly or nonverbally–we enfold our aging parent in love.
Are any of you supporting your aging parent as life draws to a close? How do you describe your most important role?