I will arrive at the assisted living facility an hour early. Although the doctor’s office is only five minutes from their residence, with their physical conditions and assistive devices, an hour’s time is pushing a timely arrival. Once I load them into my vehicle, I will have to break the news to them that their doctor’s appointments today are an evaluation for driving privileges.
They are not going to be happy at all. Indeed, they will feel betrayed. I cannot see any possible way that they well be able to keep their driver's licenses. It is a moment that will crush their hearts, their spirits, and their happiness. Unfortunately, my siblings and I carry the unhappy responsibility of adult children who must witness and protect those whom we love, from any dangers or liabilities that might befall them. It is a tough day for us as well.
My siblings and I know that the loss of their driving privileges will set them back emotionally and that potentially it might be psychologically damaging as well. My mother and my aunt believe that they are capable of driving safely; that they are able to care for themselves; and that they are able to take cross-country road trips together.
When my mother and my aunt transferred into the assisted living facility, my siblings and I sold their vehicles. They want us to replace their vehicles with a van that is equipped with a motorized lift for their motorized chairs. The expense is far beyond any of our abilities to provide, and in their current medicated condition, we do not see any way that they would be able to utilize and operate it safely. That is what today’s doctor’s visit is all about.
If the doctor and the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles agree that they should not drive, they will lose their driver's licenses. Their freedom to get up and go wherever they choose will elude them. This privilege, by far, is not the first bit of liberty that they have lost, but it is one of high magnitude.
As a grief counselor, I understand my hesitancy to take on this task, the guilt that comes with it, and the pain I endure through my responsibilities for taking care of them. Understanding does not make it easier. As a grief counselor, I understand the denial my mother and my aunt are experiencing, the anger they exude toward me for carrying out my duties to them, and the grief that will accompany today’s outcome. Understanding does not make it easier.
Today, I pray that I might have the strength to endure my duties. They are going to be difficult and potentially devastating to those whom I love and care for.
Today, I pray that my mother and my aunt will have the strength to endure their futures. Their loss of liberty is going to be difficult and grievously devastating.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, certified grief counselor, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.