Coping with Aging Parents | Part One

About a year ago I wrote this piece for KludgyMom as a precursor to a Google Hangout about dealing with aging parents. It was intense and amazing conversation amongst a group of woman about how to deal with the inevitability of our parents aging and all of the emotions and difficulties that come along with it. Here is my story.


I was living in LA when I got the call.

“Ash, your Dad has Parkinson’s.”

I sat there in stunned silence, disbelief. We knew that something had been wrong, thought maybe a stroke, or just slowing down with age a little bit. But the diagnosis was in, staring me in the face. Parkinson’s… My Dad… Parkinson’s… Shit.

It was the first time in my life that my parent’s mortality flashed before my eyes. That there was a diagnosis for one of them that would carry them through the rest of their lives. Something that wouldn’t ever go away. Something that would cause an eventual decline in all of their faculties, until the end.

I moved home to be with them but it was hard, moving back in after having been gone for years at college and in Los Angeles. I was adrift, unclear on the future and what this diagnosis meant short and long term for my father’s health. Then 2 months after I moved home, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Yeah, it was one of THOSE years… 

I felt selfish, concerned with how all this was going to affect me and the rest of my life. I was scared, faced with the questions that come as our parents age. What will happen? What kind of care are they going to need? What am I going to do without them? I was an only child, single, no boyfriend, no family of my own and I was scared at the prospect of being alone in the world. I was so scared of a future without them…


Read the rest of this piece here at



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