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  • Writer's picturePamela Higer-Polani

Which Reminds Me...

Recently, I enjoyed watching Victoria and Abdul, a movie about the relationship between the

octogenarian, Queen Victoria, at the end of her reign, and a young, Indian servant, Abdul Karim.

The bond was deemed so controversial and scandalous by her family members that upon her death,they scrubbed his existence from history. Why was the royal household so outraged? Was it just merely his station in life compared to hers? His color? His religion? Jealousy that she preferred to spend time with him than them?


The bigger issue remains why did the family not trust and accept her judgment? A woman,

who at the age of 81, was a mother to 9 children, 42 grandchildren, and despite numerous health

issues, helped enact in her lifetime 2,347 pieces of legislation, plus was the longest serving monarch in world history, responsible for five households, a staff of over 3,000 individuals and a kingdom of nearly one billion people!


Ageism remains the last barrier in our country, with many families confronting similar issues.

Is Mom spending too much time with someone they do not “approve”? Is she acting in a way with

which they are not comfortable? Dancing into the wee hours? Taking too many vacations? Spending money in ways they think is frivolous?


On the flip side, Dad wants to know why his children no longer think he is capable of driving

when he has done so since he was 12. Why do his children think they have the right to dictate where he should live, when he once clothed and diapered them?! Who are they to say how he should run his life?


As the “sandwich” generation becomes more and more of a footlong, many of these sensitive

topics inevitably become addressed only during annual get-togethers, such as holiday celebrations. Already emotionally charged moments take on monster proportions. Who is going to take care of our parents, when we live so far away? Why do I need my children’s help when I have been an adult longer than they have been alive?! Where are our parents going to go when they no longer can take care of themselves? Does Dad have dementia or is he simply just getting older?


We all want the best for our loved ones. Unfortunately, this leads often to unrealistic

expectations and disappointment, which in turn, encourages guilt and isolation. As Queen Victoria

aptly said, “We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.”


Which Reminds Me:


While family gatherings and events held during the holidays still remain fresh in my memory, I continue hearing saxophone music ringing in my ears, a soul stirring melody of promises not kept,

inspiring me to do better. As our January determination fades into February frustration, perhaps the best resolution is to grant forgiveness. Not just to others, but mostly for ourselves and the goals we set that are impossible to meet.

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