I pull up in front of the house, knowing Dad will not be waiting to greet me. Having trouble remembering when that stopped, but it has been over a year. A year like no other … what am I going to find today? How much food mouldering on the counters, sitting in pots on the stove, shoved higgle-piggle into the fridge?
My eyes tear in equal parts frustration and admiration at his ability to appreciate so fully when he is so at risk. Every professional I have contacted for support reinforces the uncomfortable reality that only he can choose his path — even if I see vulnerability where he sees autonomy.
The fierce independence that Dad needed to survive coming to this country as a young man reared its head as I tried to get him to make plans, accept help and document their wishes. Five years of argument led to one eight-hour day slowly completing a personal directive for him. It was the only document I could convince him to finish.
Caring for our parents as they age seems like the obvious way to repay them. Yet, some people ask: Can I refuse to care for an elderly parent? The...