There was a heaviness in my home during the 2018 holidays, that’s typically overflowing with joy, because of the reality involving my mother’s health. I’m saying this to inform and to offer a plea. My mother has received a diagnosis from a neurologist, confirming she has both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Our family is doing everything possible to slow the on-set of these two debilitating diseases, but the progression is inevitable. There’s only so much her doctors can do to prevent them from overtaking her. It is tragic and horrible.
Thankfully, our family had the means to move her to a home near me and I took her to lunch one Winter afternoon. My hope that day was that she could provide – just one more time – the precious advice that she’s given me through the years, when life seemed a little much. When times were tough, she used to say, “This too, shall pass.” She would also say, “Talk to God” and I did. She would reassure me that things would be o.k., in a way that only a mother can. This time, it was different. When I talked about my challenges, the difficulties of running my own practice and the weight of the responsibilities I felt, I saw a lost look in her eyes. There were no warm, loving words, just a distant, somewhat confused appearance about her, as her eyes drifted from me to the other patrons in the restaurant and around the room. It was heartbreaking.
Eventually, my family moved my mother to a memory care home. One of the owners said it would be best to not see her for the first two weeks of her stay so she could become acclimated. When I finally had that first visit, it was emotional, intense and wonderful. I could not hold back the tears when I paid my mother a visit that day. I cried on her shoulder, told her, “I love you” and she responded with the same, beautiful words. We held hands and talked a bit before she said to me, “Go home and get some rest.”
My plea is to everyone who took time to read this.
Value your loved ones, your health, your dreams and aspirations more than anything else. Too much of what I see is connected with the material – consumption, what to buy, how much money to have and hold. We jockey for parking spaces to rush into stores, so we can spend and acquire possessions, that ultimately, one day become meaningless. We try to outsmart the securities markets or seek “hot” stocks to grow a pile of money for the sake of a larger pile of money. We envy what others have and too often cause personal financial strain to obtain what someone else possesses. The energy devoted to these endeavors is misplaced, in my opinion. I believe the core of what matters includes family, experiences, joy and health.
So, my message to you is not about portfolio performance, or mutual fund recommendations. We can carve-out plenty of time for that. My message is, love the precious people in your life as much as you can, while you can and while they’re around to receive it.