Wednesday 16th October 2019

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The True Saints Among Us

October 9, 2019 Frontpage No Comments

By REY FLORES

As some of us reach middle age, we are now faced with a challenge of having to care for our elderly parents. While some of our parents are just getting older, some of us are dealing with aging and sick parents. With age comes the deterioration of health and our parents who once took care of us need us to take care of them.
Our elderly parents can become like children as they get older. Be it an official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or diabetes, whatever: These are mental, physical, and physiological conditions which can bring a human person to an almost or entirely helpless infant-like capacity.
I cannot take any credit for taking care of my own mother. That credit goes to my two sisters and my brother-in-law who in my book will probably get to Heaven long before I do — and that’s if I ever do. Why do I say that? I say it because for many years my mother has been bed bound, unable to take care of herself in any way.
Who am I to pat myself on the back for “visiting the sick,” while others care for our loved ones 24/7? My sisters feed her, give her medication, and even change her diapers. Perhaps I just don’t have it in me, but I have a great deal of respect and honor for those people who sacrifice so much to take care of their parents.
My wife moved back to her hometown to help take care of her parents. God bless her — as if it wasn’t enough for her to take on the primary care of our own kids, she is also helping her parents. I’m out of words. Like my sisters and brother-in-law, and anyone else who has done the same, hats off to you.
As Catholics, we are called upon to perform both works of charity and works of mercy. Some of us have the capacity to do this, be it through our own fortitude and virtue, or by nothing other than God’s grace itself.
I cannot conceive in my own head all that my sisters have done to care for our mother. In their acts there exist the greatest of mercies and the greatest of love and compassion. In caring for our aging parents, there exists a beautiful selflessness that is beyond my comprehension.
Whenever any of us say that we are pro-life, I hope that we mean we are pro-life through and through. Yes, the unborn need our help to protect them from this horrible cult and culture of death around us, but any incapacitated person, be it a disability of any kind or just old age, also needs us to be “pro-life” for them.
While my sisters have been carrying most of the burden for years now, the least I can do to help is to pick up prescriptions, offer to do other chores and errands, and certainly pray for them. I pray for them not only for their ceaseless sacrifices, but in gratitude for their service
I can only imagine what it must feel like to also be the parent in such a situation. At one time in their lives, they were the caregivers to our helpless selves as children. They once were the strong ones whom we ran to with a scraped knee or when we were frightened or hungry. Now in the autumn of their lives, they are the ones who need us to care for them as they approach a second infancy of sorts.
It breaks my heart when I hear about elder abuse, be it at the hands of hospice or retirement home workers, and especially if the abuse comes from family members themselves. To this day, I still regret my inaction as I heard my landlord being abused in the apartment upstairs from me by his own adult son. I know it’s no excuse, but I was a very confused and troubled teenager at the time.
Because of that horrible experience, I have the utmost admiration and respect for those people like my sisters, brother-in-law, and my wife. These are the true saints among us.
If anyone out there going through the same journey is reading this, I salute you. I will definitely add you all to my daily rosary because you are so deserving of it. Anyone reading this who isn’t taking care of elderly relatives, either because their parents aren’t at advanced age or are in good health, pray for those who do and are.
Pray in advance for yourselves and your parents because one day you may also find yourself in this situation.
I would also like to thank employers who are considerate, flexible, and kind enough to allow their employees the time needed to care for their parents and sick relatives. God bless you as well for your acts of charity and mercy. God sees this and will reward your kindness.
While my mother will never walk again, my father is still able to travel and get along by himself for the most part. Because of a leg injury a couple of years ago, he has definitely slowed down somewhat, but like the Energizer Bunny from those old television commercials, he still keeps on going and going, despite the fact that he’s almost 90 years old.

Kind And Selfless Souls

I am expecting that I may be called to be my dad’s caregiver. I pray that I have it in me to do as my own family members are now doing. I pray God will give me all of the graces to care for my father who in many ways still takes care of me.
As we grow older, it may be you and me who depend on our children one day to care for us. Life is funny that way. One day we are running about as if we were going to live forever, and the next, we may be depending on others to take care of our simplest human needs.
Lastly, I’d like to tip my hat to those professional caregivers who give their all. Yes, it may be a job or even a volunteer position, but thank you as well for caring for our elderly and sick. There is no greater act than to help those who can no longer help themselves. Thank you for all that you do.
Please pray for all of these kind and selfless souls amongst us. Pray that God will always give them the graces and the strength to continue to do what they do, and that God may also grant them the peace and rest they deserve when they aren’t doing what they do for most of their days.

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(Rey Flores writes opinion and book and movie reviews for The Wanderer. Contact Rey at reyfloresusa@gmail.com.)

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