I use the word ‘transmutation’ because it describes what I am going through more accurately than just “My life is changing”.
If you even recognize the word, I bet you never expected to see it used anywhere but on an SAT or a GRE (hooray, standardized testing!) It is an old and rarely used word, but for me, it just fits. Here is Dictonary.com’s definition:
[trans-myoo-tey-shuh n, tranz-]
1. the act or process of transmuting.
2.the fact or state of being transmuted.
3.change into another nature, substance, form, or condition.
4.Biology. the transformation of one species into another.
5.Physics. any process in which a nuclide is transformed into a different nuclide, usually one of a different element.
6.Alchemy. the supposed conversion of base metals into metals of greater value, especially into gold or silver.
The two definitions I prefer are numbers 3 and 6. Did my life “change into another nature, substance, form, or condition”? Yup, I’ve changed my schedule, my goals and my habits to accommodate the others in my life over my own needs. Of course, I did this with my babies but as they matured, they became more responsible, not less. I accepted that my parents would never become autonomous again. I’ve had to make career choices that are against my best interests but they left me available for the needs of my parents. My husband and I have given up our privacy in order to have them move into our home full-time. Yes, the conditions have changed.
My parents changed. My dad is no longer with us but we witnessed the feelings that weighed heavily on him; he questioned what he still had to offer or if he had become a burden. The future scared both of them and they feared the slow deterioration of their bodies and minds. They were not the same self-sufficient people they were even a few short years before. None of us can stop time and no one really wants to admit that we are all getting older.
The living arrangements became a challenge but as least my husband and I made these adjustments voluntarily, that wasn’t the case for my parents or for my daughters who gave up their time with us and the life they were used to. Sometimes it was hard for us not to get frustrated at the sheer magnitude of the sacrifices that had to be made but knew that each day is one less that we could spend with them.
This is my reason for building this blog. My thought is that the time with my dad was precious, and bittersweet, difficult, confusing, and too short. My mom is still here but we are realists. She is 88 years old and not in the best health. My dad’s Alzheimer’s disease was the most difficult thing she, or any of us, has ever dealt with.
My hope is that together we can make this transition. If we can minimize some of the fears and the frustrations, if we can build a community where we can offer support, suggest resources, celebrate our successes and share our difficulties then we can make our days with our loved ones become something of greater value. I hope you will be a part of it.
Dictionary.com “transmutation,” in Online Etymology Dictionary. Source location: Douglas Harper, Historian.http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transmutation. Available: http://dictionary.reference.com/. Accessed: March 06, 2016.