On Dec. 21 (In the Valley of the Shadow of Death) I told you about a couple I was helping to support who’ve been told they are dying. On more than 1 occasion since, I’ve been struck by how the husband, whose wife may only have days to live, still clings so strongly to his routines, even during such a time of upheaval. Detailed, step by step instructions about how to make his eggs, how to heat his hot cross bun, how to heat his soup….
It suddenly occurred to me that in this period of personal chaos, where so much about his own future and that of his wife seem totally out of his control, that these routines allow him to feel that there are still at least some areas in which he can feel he is still “calling the shots”. For seniors who can experience so many losses in their latter years, we need to be mindful how essential their apparent “need to control” may be in helping them cope with those losses.