Something I work to get better at knowing all the time is that every person has his own right to his own opinions, beliefs and habits. Each person has that right and I encourage and staunchly defend that right. I believe this is what the Founding Fathers in the US were saying. I don’t have to agree with him and he doesn’t have to agree with me. People are free to choose how they want to live unless it is inflicting harm. Even that can be a slippery slope of interpretation.
Sometimes it is surprising how people very close to you have radically different ideas about how to live. For these intimate family members and friends it is harder, for me anyway, to live and let live and simply say, well it is her choice and she is a grown-ass woman of sound mind. She can make her own decisions.
But that is exactly what my family is faced with doing at present. My mother is nearly 80 years old. She has been independent most of her life and has lived alone, over 5 hours away from the nearest family member for over 15 years. We convinced her to come and stay with my sister, who lives near two of us other kids, for a trial run. It was to be 3 months. It didn’t last 3 weeks. She will leave to go back home at just over the 2 week mark.
I feel robbed in some ways. I thought I was going to have more time with her. I thought she would end up staying, warming up to the idea of being around family and being part of our lives. I don’t understand the life she lives. It is a solitary life, not even any pets, with only trips to the grocery store when needed and most days spent immersed in Turner Classic Movies. She absolutely loves them.
So, I defend her right to her chosen life. I cannot place my values on her. I do not want to make her miserable by living a life she didn’t choose. I would never want to do that. I love her and want her to live the life of her choosing as long as she can. But I will allow myself to mourn the loss of what could have been.